We are our past, the product of our personal and political histories. Not so radical a premise is that upon which Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial movie is based. Curious about the content and controversy surrounding this new release, last night friends and I went to see “2016: Obama’s America.” Somewhat skeptical about its reception, I dismissed the suggestion that we should arrive early for seats, joking that we would be sitting in an empty theater. We got there early; and the theater was empty, but not for long. By the time the movie started the room was packed.
In pursuing his premise D’Souza claims that Barack Obama, Jr.’s dream is his Kenyan father Barack Obama Sr.’s dream, that is to set straight the sins of European and American colonialism that have stripped and continue to strip third world countries of their resources and thrust them into abject poverty … and that America should be downsized. In further developing his premise, D’Souza constructs a psychological analysis based on his theory that the President’s “founding fathers” differ from those of America, designers of our democracy and framers of our Constitution. D’Souza claims that the six men most influential in Obama’s life were his largely absentee father, Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayars, Edward Said, Roberto Unger, and Jeremiah Wright, espousers of communism, socialism, and Marxism, all anti-American.
After viewing this movie, my friends and I sat down over a cup of coffee with computers in hand to discuss and dissect it. We found it intriguing that D’Souza researched Obama’s personal and political histories to construct an alarming and somewhat convincing psychological analysis of the President. However, we questioned the connections made between some of the supportive points. One point in support of Obama’s anti-colonialism ideology was that he removed from the Oval Office and sent back to the British a bust of their most famous citizen, Winston Churchill. Upon checking this fact, we learned that the bust was actually on loan following our September 11th attacks; and rather than renew the loan the President opted to return it to England.
In his interviews, talks, books, and movie, D’Souza has planted some disturbing doubts regarding our president. If any of his claims are true, there is cause for our country’s concern. However, by massaging one point to support his premise, D’Souza diminishes the credibility of his other supportive points. One of my friends questioned this, “If both conservatives and liberals are seeing the President through their own filters and thereby massaging the truth, how do we find out what the truth is?” And therein lies America’s 2012 voting dilemma.