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Split: A Divided America (2008)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 137 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

Part road movie, part political investigation, a coast to coast adventure to find the truth about the red/blue divide in America today.

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Title: Split: A Divided America (2008)

Split: A Divided America (2008) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tucker Carlson
Norman Ornstein ...
(as Norm Ornstein)
Scott Reed
Bruce Bartlett
Doug Bailey
Amy Goodman
Thomas Frank
Nicholas Kristof
Robert Putnam
Linda S. Kauffman
Sheila Jackson Lee
Jack Hitt
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Storyline

Part road movie, part political investigation, a coast to coast adventure to find the truth about the red/blue divide in America today.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

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Release Date:

1 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Split: America's Reaction to the Election  »

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Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Production Co:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Misleading and Disingenuous
7 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary is fundamentally misleading in its characterization of the "split" that divides Americans politically by focusing almost exclusively on relatively meaningless "hot button" issues like abortion and homosexuality, while ignoring real class, gender, and racial disparity.

Roe v. Wade is not going to be overturned ever. For politicians to pretend otherwise for the sake of mobilizing ignorant voters is disingenuous, just like this movie's insistence that abortion is a politically significant issue on the national level, one that divides our political spectrum, is also disingenuous. Similarly homosexuality is not an issue at the national level. The personal opinions of politicians have little bearing on the legislative reality, which is that at this time neither party will act either to further expand or restrict the definition of marriage. No one is pushing for equal rights for gays, and no one is pushing for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The documentary contains a number of short historical lessons for the viewer's apparent edification (so he can contextualize the current "split" with the halcyon days of yore) which are fundamentally inaccurate. For instance, in order to buttress the reality of the "split" as a modern phenomenon, electoral maps for the past 100 years or so of presidential elections are shown with the current red/blue color scheme. Not surprisingly, the red/blue states shift somewhat from election to election and substantially at certain times. What is not mentioned at all is that during these shifts it was the nature of the political parties themselves that changed, not the voters. The South overwhelmingly voted Democratic during most of the twentieth century, until Republicans co-opted the racial and evangelical platform issues important to Southerners. Subtler changes in party platforms during this time are also ignored. Another example of historical inaccuracy is the depiction of the religion of the founding fathers. It's suggested that there is a great deal of confusion concerning the religion of the founding fathers (and there is amongst many people, but not historians). Thomas Jefferson is painted as a devoutly religious man who compiled his own bible but nonetheless (and confusedly, it seems) is sometimes considered an atheist. What is not mentioned is that his "bible" contains only the moral teachings of Jesus, with the complete expurgation of miracles and everything else Jefferson considered spurious, because Jefferson was in fact a deist, more or less the eighteenth century equivalent of the modern atheist.

There are several more instances like this, which contribute overall to an extremely simplified picture of America as divided along meaningful partisan lines. Certainly America IS divided along partisan lines to the extent that politicians have been very successful in getting people to vote primarily on social "issues." But in fact the Democratic and Republican parties are both right of center compared to the parties of every other Western industrialized nation. They are both free market capitalist parties who employ aggressive foreign policy. The split between them is grossly exaggerated.

This documentary should have focused on the political agenda of deceiving voters into believing in the existence of a real political schism but instead merely furthers that agenda by reinforcing this deception.


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