Saturday

REVIEW: 2016 Obama's America - Now You Know Him

Dinesh D'Souza's "2016, Obama's America"


2016 Obama's America is advertised as a "gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office." The purpose? To expose the political pilgrimage of Obama's past, while building a logical, systemic case for how a second term might see a foundational reconstruction of America. In short, writer/director, Dinesh D'Souza, examines the question, were Obama to win a second term, where will American be in 2016?
Barack Hussein Obama, President Obama's father, is the focus of his autobiography, published in 1995.

For me, and the packed theater of viewers, the plausible potential of Obama's vision is unnerving. Even if only a scant portion of D'Souza's conjectures came to fruition, America is headed for a precipitous and most certain decline. According to Obama's design, however, the 2016 economic atrophy would be heralded as a victory. But for millions of unsuspecting Americans, they would no longer recognize America as home.

The film is based solely on Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father. It's "A Story of Race and Inheritance." It begins in a 2008 America where an American populace, restless and yearning for a charismatic leader, discovers a progressive who promises solutions to the economic pandemoniums and struggles of war.

Not surprisingly, America's responds affirmatively to the enchantment of Hope and Change, neglecting the blaring reality that the figure before them is expansively unknown. He's the a blank slate upon which every race and creed transfers their idiosyncratic interpretations of what the quintessential leader, and the country he leads, could accomplish.

Though America knew nothing of Obama's past, or his formative years and the mentors that shaped his worldview, nor the driving force behind his ambitious and swift rise to power, America tossed the dice and elected a man they knew little about - a man who had little to no experience. And though his passage from childhood to power was widely published, affording anyone the means to discover the true nature of the man, America did not look - yet they did look unfavorably upon those who did.

The dominant media? They went AWOL. Reporters, journalists and anchors alike, all were loathe to pose even the most perfunctory questions. Softball became the national sport when it came looking into Obama's past. Even Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose mused over the reality that they and the country really did not know who Obama was, implying a regretful complicity in Obama's election. It was possibly the single most unexamined ascendency of a political figure in modern times.
Dinesh D'Souza: Outside the White House
Regardless, the unscrutinized properties of Obama's rise to power was not so much the focus of the film but rather what America should have known about Obama before they elected him. How? Through his autobiography. Obama laid it all out there for any curious mind to read. It was Obama's very words that thread the story about who he was and what he intended. D'Souza infers that had only a modicum of intellectual curiosity been exercised, Obama may not have been our president today.

D'Souza takes us on fast paced exposé across four continents, unearthing answers to Obama’s past. The fundamental question leading D'Souza's expedition is: "Where will America be in 2016?" Along the way Obama's precise words are extracted from the pages of his autobiography and woven together to reveal a persuasive narrative that answers the many questions Americans have about Obama's obscure past and furtive agenda.
Traveling through Jakarta, Indonesia
On location in India
As the story unfolds, we discover that though America's dream of Hope and Change was envisioned as an untied, mobilized, collective force, predicated upon the belief of promoting a better America, Obama's vision was actually a comprehensive personal pursuit steeped in anti-colonial roots. It is these underpinnings that compel Obama to legislate a world of reparations to amend the wrongs of imperialistic days gone by. 

D'Souza extrapolates intentionality not only from Obama's very own words, but from interviews by officials and experts throughout the world. While some are compelling, others feel a tad of a stretch. Nonetheless, the point is made, which cannot be denied, President Obama has much to answer for, of which he is reluctant to answer. This alone arouses a revelatory climate, if not an national eyebrow. 
Daniel Pipes: Expert on the Middle East
Alice Dewey: Friend and mentor of Ann Dunham
At this point it might be relevant to note that Obama's autobiography is not entitled "Dreams OF My Father," but rather, "Dreams FROM My Father." The distinction is significant. Obama's blueprints are not personal aspirations of his father from which he formulated his agenda, but rather his identity and the paradigms formulated on his own from what he understood about his absentee dad. 

Regardless of the contrast, D'Souza proposes, the same anti-colonialist heart and fervency that possessed Obama's father, became the son. Obama's epiphany came to him while kneeling at his father's grave. It is at this somber, touchstone moment that Obama realizes the long sought purpose for his life, and pledges to carry out the "Dreams From His Father." This is not D'Souza's sentiment but Obama's.
A reenactment of young Obama at his father's grave in Kenya, experiencing an epiphany of purpose.
My movie reviews, being lite, precludes me from investigating the profound depths with which D'Souza delves to tell his intriguing story. While some will buy into it completely, others will repudiate every scintilla. The film strains credulity at times by tossing in every imaginable connection and suspicion. Regardless, my take is somewhere in between, but firmly on the side of reliable.

There is truth here, and in ample doses, but I am uncomfortable drawing any ironclad conclusions. It's enough for me that a Svengali is mismanaging our country. It may also be D'Souza's objective to include the proverbial kitchen sink as a strategic device, establishing convincingly to diehard partisans that there's more to his novel/movie than political spin and hyperbole.  

Quibbling aside, what does interest me is that the many detractors of 2016 appear to be so inadequately equipped to undermine D'Souza's conjectures. Nearly every person I've debated thus far has yet to actually see the movie. For me, it's the Knock-Michael-Moore-Syndrom but in reverse. Though my fellow conservative buds were quick to denounce his Fahrenheit 9/11, I could not cite a soul who saw it.
Philip Ochieng: Lifelong friend of Barack Obama Sr. being interviewed in Nairobi, Kenya
Rationally, the best way to justify one's opposition, on any topic, is to genuinely know what one is talking about. This does not seem to be the case when it comes to 2016 mockers. Instead of substantive, rational discourse, I read ill-informed, nasty caterwauling. This alone makes one consider that something of substance must be at the substratum of D'Souza's intricate narrative. 

Compounding the matter even more are those who have seen the film but whose criticisms not only border on contumely, but defy the principles of logic. For instance, one critic faults D'Souza for suggesting Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism. His proof? He cites instances were Obama expresses that he does in fact articulate words to the contrary. However, D'Souza does not assert that Obama has never stated he's a skeptic of American exceptionalism but rather that his actions, not his words, demonstrate his actual conviction. The contrast is material.

Dinesh D'Souza: Interviewing George Obama in Nairobi, Kenya 
2016 is packed with thought provoking connections but the scene most poignant for me is the interchange between D'Souza and Obama's half brother, George Obama. Regardless of his older, eminently more powerful brother, relegating him to abject poverty, George is nonchalant about it all, and even tries to offer an excuse or two for his big brother. This man is comfortable in his own skin, is smart, and has no axe to grind. 

Nevertheless, there is paramount difference between the brothers. While our president is invested in anti-colonial theology and purpose, George, on the other hand, believes that the only way for third world countries to climb out of an abyss is to allow white cultures to intercede. D'Souza gives us the impression that it is for this stark difference that President Obama is in no hurry to rush to George's aid (it was D'Souza himself who funded medical care for George). For Obama, George is a sell out to white imperialists, the antitheses to everything Obama represents. 

It's hard to argue. And so is much of what D'Souza has to share. Regardless of whether you're on the left or right, D'Souza has something to say and he does so masterfully. The friends that attended the showing with me all remarked it felt as if we just sat down and the documentary was over! Not to mention disturbing, frightening, a punch to the gut, etc. The film gave us what it promised, a "gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office."

"Now you know him."
5 Lens Review 
Just in case you're facing financial challenges and it would be difficult to get out to see  2016 Obama's America I've enclosed the movie above (and the link, just in case you cannot view it here). Let me know your thoughts.

Mark
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