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A Few Thoughts on Dinesh D'Souza's "2016: Obama's America"

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I haven't been watching television or going to the movies for quite some time now. But a friend of mine, who's an ardent Obama supporter, wanted to treat me to this documentary for my birthday earlier this week. So, since it is said to already be the second highest grossing political documentary ever ("Fahrenheit 911" is still of course #1), and the third most popular movie in the country (at the time of this writing, grossing almost $30 mil, playing at over 2000 theaters nationwide), I obliged. (see: click here)
I had been fairly familiar with the co-director and co-writer of the film, Dinesh D'Souza, beforehand. I knew he was an Indian born, arch-conservative who had written some books with names like "What's So Great About America?", in which he belies the implied slight in the title by saying why he actually believes this is such a great country. But considering where he comes from, and the opportunities he's had (such as attending Dartmouth and working here), this is a fairly reasonable perspective for him to have. Our country still is, of course, pretty amazing when compared to almost any third-world country, and not judged by it's original founding principles and limitless potential.
Also, Dinesh participated in a "debate, with Christopher Hitchens a few years ago on religion (see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =DJvoFbA0qcs), with Hitchens as the atheist and D'Souza as the "believer". (Chomsky always prefaces the "debates" he finds himself in by reminding the viewers that they are not technically true debates, because true debates have impartial judges, are scored, and have official winners and losers at the end. This is something the mainstream media vehemently opposes for obvious reasons.) Me, being the religious nut I admittedly am, thought D'Souza represented our position quite nicely. So, if anything, I came to this documentary slightly well-disposed towards the fellow...
Anyway, to begin with: Dinesh does seem to have a bona fide obsession with Obama. He discovered this when he came to learn that he and Barack were born the same year, married the same year, graduated from college the same year, and are both essentially from countries which had been colonized by the West. This (Dinesh believes), gives him a unique insight into where Barack is "coming from", and therefore is uniquely qualified to "out" Barack as the radical. socialist threat-to-the-very-fabric-of-America-and-consequently-the-modern-world that he sees him as.
Dinesh flies all over the world to make his case: to Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii, etc in order to trace Obama's roots and uncover all the commies he was mentored by, and/or befriended, in youth, at college, and since. (There is also an extremely touching interview with Obama's half-brother, still living in a hut in Kenya and the absolute spitting image of Barack.) But to cut to the chase: D'Souza's ultimate conclusion that Obama is looking to overthrow the country is based on four (quite literally) things he has done since becoming president, i.e returning a bust of Winston Churchill, not allowing offshore drilling to US companies and giving those rights to certain Latin American countries, his apparent sympathy to the plight of the Palestinians, and lastly, endeavoring to reduce our nuclear arsenal of 5,000 nuclear warheads. But since even Dinesh doesn't believe this last "inconceivable" faux pas would not quite bring our beloved nation to it's knees, he projects that Obama's master plan is to increase the national debt to such an extent that the USA would eventually collapse, resulting in the world becoming the "United States of Islam" (he actually projects a map on the screen dominated by these words!)
Ironically, the film actually made me a bit more sympathetic towards Obama since it reminded me that Barack did have the most liberal voting record of anyone in the Senate when he was elected, which made me (if only fleetingly) consider the possibility that perhaps Obama would, in fact, embrace his ideological roots in a second term as president.
But, it's an unfortunate reality of 99% of any political conversation in America that it will inevitably assume that the "players" are motivated by ideology. I guess it makes one seem "politically savvy" if one can limn the contours of a politician's intellectual development, and arrive at certain conclusions based on sheer ideology. But the fact that very few people go into politics for "public service" to begin with, that most are motivated by personal ambition, is usually not even mentioned. Obama could well have had leftist leanings when he was younger, or even when he first ran for president. But the very well-documented realty of his governing as a quasi-Bush conservative during his presidency, only further proves that no genuine progressive can become elected President of the United States at this moment in history. Either one sells their soul to the 1%, or one gets booted out of the game. And, Obama apparently had few qualms (if any) about selling, even if his "leanings" were genuine to begin with.
Dinesh, playing the role of "presidential scholar" (or or at least trying to), joins the crowd and tries to prove an ideological bent to Obama devoid of any oligarchical realities or circumstances. But, the result is really not any less substantial than one will find on Fox, or MSNBC or CNN for that matter....
There is, however, one very interesting segment which reminded me of why I no longer trust the fellow at all (and rarely go to the movies or watch television). At one point, Dinesh, reopens (of course) the whole Jeremiah Wright episode. But in so doing, he relates a very revealing interview with Rev. Wright. In the interview, Rev. Wright recalls a very telling encounter with Barack: At the height of the "controversy" revolving around Obama's then pastor of 20 years having been caught on film saying, "Not God bless America, but God DAMN America" over and over again, and in an effort to quell the uproar (and after a supposed $150,000 was turned down by Rev. Wright to be quiet), Obama has a meeting with Rev. Wright. In the interview, it's Rev. Wright's voice one hears saying that Obama confronted him with, "We have a problem." To which Rev. Wright responded, "Oh, and what is that?" To which Barack replied, "You have to tell the truth." Wright said, "Well, I think that's a pretty good problem to have."
Well, as truly absurd as this "documentary" is, it does at least document what our current Chief Executive feels about telling the truth.
And yes... that's a problem.

A few links:



NY Times story on conservative films:




Obama's America 2016


 

I am an aspiring mystic with a bit of experience in sales/marketing, currently living in the New York metro area with my books, candles & more books. I believe we, as a civilization, have reached the low ebb of an entire cycle (see "Hindu Yugas" & (more...)
 
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