It should come as no surprise that the Saturday night showing of “2016: Obama’s America,” which took place in the liberal stronghold of the Bay Area, was completely empty. This new political movie, directed by Indian-American conservative political commentator, Dinesh D’Souza, takes on the task of informing Americans of President Barack Obama’s past, most notably his childhood relationship with his father, Barack Obama Sr. Based on what D’Souza portrays as a strong personal connection between Obama and his father, the film attempts to predict what the political, economic and social state of our nation will be in 2016 if Obama prevails in the upcoming election.
In his movie, D’Souza accuses President Obama of maintaining an anti-colonialist agenda in pursuit of his ultimate goal: diminishing the U.S.’s foreign intervention and general worldwide power. D’Souza uses this connection and Obama Sr.’s commitment to anti-colonialism to imply that Obama himself has been and will be perpetuating this goal in his next four years in office.
To assert this claim, D’Souza begins by drawing many similarities between Obama’s past and his own. In doing so, he strives to convince viewers that he has had the same childhood experiences as Obama.
The foundation D’Souza draws upon is unsubstantiated. He uses menial factors: birth year, graduation year and marriage year to suggest a level of insight and authority on Obama’s life.
The parallels suggested in the juxtaposition of D’Souza and Obama background fall apart in their contrasting opinions.
With an idea first seen in his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, D’Souza paints Obama as the anti-imperialist, anti-western and practically anti-white reflection of his father. This description, which is the foundation of D’Souza’s film, hangs on a single interview with Professor Emeritus of Psychology at New York University, Paul Vitz.
After some contradiction, D’Souza hand feeds Vitz a loaded question with the sole purpose of gaining his requested response. D’Souza prompts “Is it possible that Obama is trying to emulate his father’s political opinions because of a lack of fatherly presence in his life?” The answer Vitz gives, and also the “fact” D’Souza uses for the rest of his movie, is that Obama could indeed be striving to prove his worth as a way of recovering from the absence of his father throughout his childhood.
This conclusion is used to suggest that all of Obama’s previous and future pursuits will directly match those of his father, the anti-American academic. The assertion that Obama’s political desires are a copy of his father’s political agenda is completely subjective and a logical stretch at best.
To prove Obama’s history as a anti-colonialist, D’Souza makes a number of broad sweeping claims. The first example he uses is that Obama is the first president to support Argentina over England in the dispute over the Falkland Islands. This example is used to show that Obama might be compensating Argentina for past colonial injustices committed by Great Britain.
However, the notion that Obama supports Argentina is not factually accurate and should be regarded quite simply as a lie. (Obama’s administration declined to make a statement on the dispute and faced harsh criticism because of it.)
Furthermore, D’Souza correctly points out that the national debt has risen to 16 trillion dollars under the Obama administration. Still, he fails to explore other explanations of the initial explosion of debt which occurred under President Bush’s second term.Moreover, D’Souza claims that Obama has done nothing to prevent the nuclear ambitions of Iran, and in his doing so, is supporting the Iranian victims of colonialism. To say that would be to ignore the strict economic sanctions Obama has placed on Iran in hopes of its halting warhead production.
Another interesting conclusion D’Souza draws is about Obama’s Marxist and communist roots. D’Souza names five men he believes had a significant impact on Obama’s views.
These “founding fathers,” Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Edward Said and Roberto Unger, were Obama’s supposed mentors during his early life. The most prominent of these five, Davis, was constantly discounting American postwar relations in Africa and examining the factual existence of race altogether.
Similarly, D’Souza says that Obama is “weirdly sympathetic to Muslim jihadists” in Afghanistan and Pakistan. D’Souza even goes so far as to predict that Obama is endorsing a “United States of Islam,” which would be a safe haven for radical Muslims in the Middle East and northern parts of Africa. This cannot be entirely true because Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and dozens of drone strikes on other notorious terrorists in the region.
Above all, the most striking example of D’Souza’s creative investigative journalism can be seen in the opening scene of the film. D’Souza interprets the removal of a bust sculpture of Winston Churchill from the white house as anti-colonialist.
Upon further inspection, the bust was on loan to the White House and was scheduled to be returned to its owner before Obama took office. In fact, another bust of Churchill can even be found in the president’s private residence. D’Souza is twisting the truth and even when he does show some validity, the points are mundane and inconsequential.
While D’Souza makes unsupported claims in his examples, the most perplexing points are made in his assessment of America’s inauspicious future.
Near the end of the film, the “anticolonialist” actions Obama had taken in his first term are viewed as only the tip of the iceberg. D’Souza believes that if Obama gets re-elected, a presidential monster would emerge and take advantage of his second term. In the wake of this term, a.k.a. 2016, Obama would leave behind a radically different America, a nation of little global power and decreased patriotism.
Although the film paints an interesting portrait of Obama Sr.’s passion for combatting colonialism, D’Souza does not support his main premise. That is, there is little evidence in the film that supports the idea that President Obama is extraordinarily focused on anti-colonialism.
There are even less hard facts that support D’Souza’s gloom and doom prediction for America, should Obama win the White House and govern during 2016.
Whether the movie holds D’Souza’s personal opinions or those of an anti-Obama group is suspect as there is an uncanny coincidence between the timed release of the film