This Friday, August 24, will mark the general wide release of the controversial new film 2016: Obama’s America. The film, written and made by author Dinesh D’Souza, takes as its mission to examine the question, “If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?”
Dr. Thomas Sowell, the noted African-American economist, wrote this week about his reactions to the film. I have reproduced his affirmative article below. Variety‘s generally favorable film review called it “a sort of Cliffs Notes précis of the conservative case against the re-election of our current U.S. president.”
The film’s website asserts, “Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to America’s ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didn’t know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him–who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world…. Love him or hate him, you don’t know him.”
Predictably, Obama die-hards and those on the Left of the political spectrum will call the film many things (hateful, racist, lies, irrelevant, etc.). After watching D’Souza’s exposition of the major points of the film at the CPAC meeting earlier this year, one of my dearest friends, whom I respect as much as any other on this earth and not someone generally found to the Left of center, called it an “absurd, unreasonable contrivance which clothes itself in reasonableness with small arguments that obfuscate the absurdity of the big picture. It also panders to the rather tiny group of malcontents who seem determined to portray Obama as someone altogether alien to American values…. D’Souza strikes me as a bit daft and not someone on whom I would like to waste the few hours, days, weeks, years I have left.”
The divergence of thought between my friend and Dr. Sowell (both men of high intellect and affluent in reason) is as fascinating as it is profound. I can feel the cognitive dissonance floating down on me like snow on cedars. I’ll leave it for you to decide.
(For those of you in central NC, it will be playing at the North Hills Cinema.)
A Powerful Movie
Dr. Thomas Sowell
Years, and sometimes decades, pass between my visits to movie theaters. But I drove 30 miles to see the movie 2016, based on Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Where I live is so politically correct that such a movie would not even be mentioned, much less shown.
Every seat in the theater was filled, even though there had been an earlier showing that day, and more showings were scheduled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I had to sit on a staircase in the balcony, but it was worth it.
The audience was riveted. You could barely hear a sound from them, or detect a movement, and certainly not smell popcorn. Yet the movie had no bombast, no violence, no sex and no spectacular visual effects.
The documentary itself was fascinating, as Dinesh D’Souza presented the story of Barack Obama’s life and view of the world, in a very conversational sort of way, illustrating it with visits to people and places around the world that played a role in the way Obama’s ideas and beliefs evolved.
It was refreshing to see how addressing adults as adults could be effective, in an age when so many parts of the media address the public as if they were children who need a constant whirlwind of sounds and movements to keep them interested.
Dinesh D’Souza’s own perspective, as someone born in India who came to America and became an American, provided a special insight into the way people from the Third World often perceive or misperceive the United States and the Western world.
That Third World perspective is Obama’s perspective, D’Souza demonstrates in this documentary, as in his book — and it is a perspective that is very foreign to that of most Americans, which may be why some believe that Obama was born elsewhere.
D’Souza is convinced that the president was born in Hawaii, as he claims, but argues that not only Obama’s time living in Indonesia and his emotionally charged visits to his father’s home in Africa, have had a deep and impassioned effect on his thinking.
The story of Barack Obama, however, is not just the story of how one man came to be the way he is. It is a much larger story about how millions of Americans came to vote for, and some to idolize, a man whose fundamental beliefs and values are so different from their own.
For every person who sees Obama as somehow foreign there are many others who see him as a mainstream American political figure — and an inspiring one.
This D’Souza attributes to Barack Obama’s great talents in rhetoric, and his ability to project an image that resonates with most Americans, however much that image may differ from, or even flatly contradict, the reality of Obama’s own ideological view of the world.
What is that ideological view?
The Third World, or anti-colonial, view is that the rich nations have gotten rich by taking wealth from the poor nations. It is part of a much larger vision, in which the rich in general have gotten rich by taking from the poor, whether in their own country or elsewhere.
Whatever its factual weaknesses, it is an emotionally powerful vision, to which many people have dedicated their lives, and for which some have even risked their lives. Some of these people appear in this documentary movie, as they have appeared throughout the formative phases of Barack Obama’s life.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is just the most visible and vocal of a long line of such people who played crucial roles in Obama’s evolution. When Jeremiah Wright thundered about how “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” he captured the essence of the Third World or anti-colonial vision.
But many of the other mentors, allies, family and friends of Barack Obama over the years were of the same mindset, as this documentary demonstrates.
More important, the movie 2016 demonstrates how so many of Obama’s actions as President of the United States, which D’Souza had predicted on the basis of his study of Obama’s background, are perfectly consistent with that ideology, however inconsistent it is with the rhetoric that gained him the highest office in the land.
Trailer for 2016: Obama’s America