2016: Obama's America
The sub-headline for the movie is "Love Him Hate Him You Don't Know Him".
The same applies to anyone's first impressions on hearing that this movie is out.
Based on some of the buzz in the media, e-mail box, and on social media; along with knowing it is based on Dinesh D'Souza's books "The Roots of Obama's Rage" and "Obama's America" I was expecting that it would come off as a well-researched, accurate and forceful criticism.
Not so. What I'd forgotten despite reading another D'Souza book, "What's So Great About America", years ago and having seen him speak on campus during my days as a college student is that D'Souza is not only sharp as a tack, but also, uncommonly civil and objective.
The movie begins with comparison's between D'Souza's and Obama's lives and experiences. Parallel first-hand experiences from D'Souza's own life lend credibility as he begins to explain his theory of the ideas which animate Barack Obama based on his behavior and policy choices.
Of course, the reason a theory must be developed for our president's modus operandi is that, as Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose acknowledge of themselves and their journalist-peers, no major media journalists bothered to ask this question during the 2008 Presidential election campaign.
As the movie develops, the hard criticism never materializes. The treatment is straight-forward, well-sourced with direct quotations from one of the two autobiographies; and interviews with one of Obama's brothers and others who knew Obama's father - along with other well-credentialed and professional folks.
The treatment humanizes Barack Obama and seems at times to be on the verge of sympathetic to him, based on the accompanying historical summaries of both the people and places of Obama's life.
While D'Souza is a Conservative and Reaganite, his chops as professional collector and assessor of facts leave a sense of sterile objectivity. This stands out particularly against the present backdrop of a media derelict in their duties to investigate favored pols and the tone of hyper-subjectivity when skeptical laserbeams are trained on those out of ideological favor with the average newsroom.
What does come through compellingly is well-sourced evidence that Obama shares the "Dreams from My [His] Father" which include a Marxist/Communist Anti-Colonialism perspective. This is noted as unique, both in history for any American president; as well as relative to the uniquely American ideals - stemming in part from our own colonial beginnings - of limited government, meritocracy, and a "rising-tide-lifts-all-boats" mindset. In stark contrast is the anti-colonial victimhood/zero-sum game perspective where if the poor and huddled are to be uplifted, it will be only by the exact correspondence of pegs the mighty are dropped.
There is some extrapolation about what another four years of this worldview in the Oval Office would yield, but you'll have to go watch this well-done bit of journalism to get that.
A number of questions came to mind as the movie closed:
1) What people are watching this movie? Independents? Moderates? Political junkies?
2) Will it move votes and impact the upcoming election?
3) As people see the case made to support the claim that Obama is animated by a need to "even out" the world's nations by humbling America and empowering former colonized nations, will they find this "un-American" and be repulsed; or agree with it after a couple decades of "model U.N."/deconstructionist influence in public school curricula?
4) What will the unintended consequences both for America, and the world, be for this lurch into such a culturally un-American set of policies?
5) Given how few voters were actually paying attention and doing their own research last election, will the uber-objective, here-are-the-facts-draw-your-own-conclusions approach work, or should more dots have been connected?