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1997 HBO Movie "The Second Civil War" - Predicts Arizona Immigration Conflict

Scandal Bergman
User ID: 965058
New Zealand
05/14/2010 12:51 PM
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1997 HBO Movie "The Second Civil War" - Predicts Arizona Immigration Conflict
[link to www.videodetective.com]

The 1997 film is set in a United States in which foreign immigration has skyrocketed: The Mayor of Los Angeles speaks only in Spanish, Rhode Island is populated mostly by Chinese-Americans, and Alabama has a congressman from India. When an atomic weapon is used in Pakistan, an international organization makes plans to bring orphans to Idaho. Idaho governor Jim Farley (Bridges) orders the state's National Guard to close its borders, and justifies his actions with speeches about how immigrants threaten the American way of life; he sees no contradiction between this stance and the fact that the Governor himself routinely indulges in Mexican food, Mexican soap operas, and an affair with a Mexican-American reporter (Peña). Despite the best efforts of his press secretary Jimmy Cannon (Kevin Dunn), Farley remains largely oblivious to the national crisis he's the center of, since Farley is more concerned with rekindling his romance with Peña rather than dealing with national affairs.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States (Hartman) turns out to be an equally ineffectual leader. Reputed as indecisive, the President relies his decision-making entirely on his advisors, most notably his unofficial chief advisor, lobbyist Jack B. Buchan (Coburn). Buchan, however, is less concerned with the good of the nation, and more concerned with politics, especially how the President's actions will play on television (resulting, for example, in a 72-hour deadline being shortened to 67 1/2 hours to prevent the news from interrupting Susan Lucci's farewell appearance on the soap opera All My Children). Buchan regularly influences the President's decisions by manipulating his desire to emulate previous U.S. Presidents, even going so far as to peppering presidential statements with fictitious "quotes" from David Eisenhower.

Meanwhile, the NN cable network is reporting the events and influencing them at the same time. News director Mel (Dan Hedaya) attempts to time events to maximize ratings, while his staff becomes polarized over the political issues involved in the conflict between the Governor and the President.

As the deadline approaches, the Governor and the President call in, respectively, the Idaho National Guard and the United States Army. Tensions rise when the commanders of both units turn out to be bitter rivals from the Gulf War. Meanwhile, governors from other states send in their own National Guard units to aid one side or the other, causing the conflict to escalate into the national arena. The nation starts dividing itself into anti- and pro-immigrant factions; Mexican-American pro-immigrant rioters bomb the Alamo, while anti-immigrants retaliate by bombing the Statue of Liberty, because of its plaque's pro-immigrant rhetoric.

Eventually, the Governor's girlfriend convinces him to back down from the conflict and resign, but a series of misunderstandings and mutinies leads to a major battle between anti- and pro-immigrant armed forces at the Idaho border, resulting in many casualties and a danger that there really will be a second American Civil War. At the movie's close, news reports indicate that hostilities have ceased, but the immigration issue is unresolved.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]