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What will America look like in 2016? Dinesh D’Souza, a former American Enterprise Fellow and noted author, ventures to answer this question through thorough inspection of our past, present and possible future under President Barack H. Obama. The results of his findings are documented in his film “2016: Obama’s America,” a film based on his noted text “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”
Throughout the film, D’Souza attempts to trace the President’s early history aiming to arrive at a definitive conclusion explaining the rationale for his actions. Citing frequently from the president’s book titled “Dreams from my Father,” D’Souza ultimately concludes through a combination of detailed interviews and reflective treks around the world that President Obama’s ‘anticolonial viewpoints’ serve as the basis for his domestic and international agenda.
However, while these viewpoints serve as the rationale for D’Souza to undergo his journey, do his motives prove worthwhile viewing for the film’s 1 hour+ running time?
The answer to that question largely depends on your opinions surrounding the president and his actions during his administration. Those skeptical of his methods during his period in office will appreciate the time that he spends detailing the president’s origins, and will appreciate the film’s early minutes where he spends time detailing President Obama’s roots, all while making surprising connections to his own period of growing up.
In some ways, apparently, President Obama and Dinesh D’Souza are not so different after all.
Republicans, and those with conservative leanings, will undoubtedly enjoy and appreciate this film, especially considering the strong early success and the fair amount of money that it has made since its release. They will likely smile and nod at the time spent detailing the president’s past associations with figures such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Edward Said. In addition, they will likely appreciate his statements ridiculing the president’s attempts to ‘equalize’ America with the rest of the world and affirm his contention that this action will cause the U.S. to lose its place as a premiere superpower.
To support these claims, D’Souza details a speech President Obama made to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal; to him, this action represents a grave misstep considering that other nations are conversely increasing their nuclear strength. D’Souza also mentions the current president’s appeared reticence in dealing with Iran as well as his decision to halt the Keystone Pipeline and siding with Palestine over Israel. In addition, D’Souza obtains secondary voices that echo his concerns, such as Paul Vitz, a NYU psychology professor and Daniel Pipes, a founder of the Middle Eastern Forum.
As for those individuals who are center or left-of-center, their mileage with D’Souza’s project may vary; although it is praiseworthy that the filmmaker spent a great deal of time and effort making this project a reality, he must also be expected to present a balanced viewpoint. It becomes clear early on that D’Souza’s only intention with this production is to tell the story that will buttress his viewpoint rather than a story that will prove factually accurate.
This is especially true during his exchange with George Obama, the president’s half-brother. D’Souza repeatedly stresses President Obama’s failure to help him as an example that he is not “looking out for his brother’s keeper.” This example, he hopes, will paint President Obama as an individual who does not keep his promises.
Interestingly, George douses D’Souza’s plans with cold water, simply responding that Barack’s responsibility is now to the world, and by looking out for that world, he is taking care of him as well.
D’Souza’s central aim to tell only ‘his’ story and not a balanced tale is even more apparent once individuals apply their own outside knowledge to his assertions; in fact, many have fact-checked the claims that he makes and have found that not every statement made in the movie holds water.
That aside, the film’s attempts to build any goodwill are promptly swept through its ignorance of any meaningful background behind President Obama’s actions. After all, it is far easier to criticize the president for wanting to reduce nuclear weapons than it is to actually look back and remember that former President Ronald Regan wanted to achieve the same objective.
In addition, the film also includes a section where the president is having trouble speaking at a rally explaining his new healthcare legislation, while ignoring the hecklers who are making it difficult for him to speak. Lastly, D’Souza opines that Obama is sympathetic to radicals, an action that Osama Bin Laden would strongly disagree with.
When you put all the pieces together, you have a project that will please conservatives, anger liberals, and cause those in the center to ask questions. The casual moviegoer will likely appreciate the extended detail that D’Souza dedicates towards explaining the President’s life, but they may also express confusion at the noted author’s interpretation of the facts. These same individuals should still take the time to see this film, if only to hear a contrasting viewpoint of the President’s life and beliefs.