After two viewings of “2016: Obama’s America”, the new film by Dinesh D’Souza, I want to summarize and offer my thoughts to those of you who either don’t have time to watch or are unable to (the movie is not offered in all theaters).
Obviously, with a political documentary, one typically expects some sort of propaganda with eerie music, creepy voices, and warnings of doom. The trailer for 2016 certainly suggested that the movie would be exactly that.
However, after watching the entire movie twice, I invite you all to consider again the worried thoughts you may have about the movie. D’Souza comes off as intellectual, calm, and rational.
If you are a die-hard Obama supporter and “could never watch that garbage”, I remind you that Ronald Reagan, a strong critic of collectivism, regularly read Marx. If you truly believe the movie is full of incorrect facts, then I invite you to watch it and point out the points that are misleading. Plenty of journalists have done independent “fact-checks”, prompting more to “fact-check the fact-checks”. This is exactly the point of a documentary – to make people think.
The movie focuses primarily on the President’s family history, briefly touching on his record in office as well. D’Souza argues that Obama’s decisions are influenced by “anti-colonialism”, a theory that blames rich countries of the world for exploiting the poor countries’ people and resources.
To back up this claim, D’Souza tells the story of Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr., who strongly believed in the evils of colonialism.
Soon after young Barack’s birth, Obama Sr. moved back to Kenya. D’Souza explains how, despite the father’s absence during Obama’s childhood, his worldview and politics were kept alive by Obama’s mother. The evidence that President Obama follows in his father’s footsteps is mostly based on quotes used directly from Obama’s book: “Dreams From My Father”.
More intriguing is the nature of Obama’s friends and mentors, many of them previously unknown to voters. D’Souza alleges that Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party Member who was tracked by the FBI, was Obama’s mentor for eight years. The movie also explores some of Obama’s other radical friends in Chicago, briefly touching on the episode with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, a communist revolutionary that bombed several public buildings (including the Pentagon and Capitol) in the 60s and 70s.
Though the movie does utilize some dramatic music and intimidating graphics, it is more of a documentary of interviews. However, D’Souza does predict danger to America if Obama is re-elected. Even if you do not concede that the worldview of Obama’s parents and friends affected him, the movie brings up some interesting questions about Obama’s past. The film is worth seeing by anyone looking to encourage their own critical thinking, regardless of their political affiliation.
A variation of this article was also published in the Baylor Lariat on 9/12/12.