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Saturday, September 1, 2012

My 2016: Obama's America review

Alright, before I get started, let's get a few things out of the way.  First, which should come as no surprise, is I'm conservative and a Republican.  I definitely lean right in my perception.  However, this leaning is not formed by mere alarmist bias.  It's not formed by blind faith.  It's formed by evaluating what I see in front of me while attempting to be as informed as I can.  Generally, when doing this, my conclusions will lean conservative.  But it's not automatic.  I still try to look critically.  Yes, I rail on liberals alot simply because there's a fundamental ideological clash.  But when it comes to evaluating a piece of political media, I do my best to play the part of the skeptic even if I naturally lean right.

I say this because I'm aware (and as I've said before) that conservatives in general just aren't as good on both documentary/entertainment media and the argumentative front as liberals are.  I've seen some of it.  For example, FahrenHYPE 9/11, an obvious retort to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was terrible.  Their counters were poorly constructed and there just wasn't a lot of meaty substance.  And even while I found Moore's work to be loathsome and misleading, this counter documentary isn't something I'd refer to as a definitive refutation of the original film.  What I'm getting at here is that just because a piece of media has a conservative bend doesn't mean I'm going to rally behind or endorse it.

You can see where I'm going with this.  I went into 2016: Obama's America curious as to what it had to say.  I'd seen the previews.   Dinesh D'Souza, the person who primarily put this documentary together, intrigued me. His hypothesis about Obama was something I hadn't considered nor seen on either side of the American political spectrum.  I heard the praises from the right, and the universal condemnation from the left.  It'd be easy to just side with the right without seeing it.  But no, I had to see it.

And I'm thoroughly glad I did.

This is a well put together documentary.  Perhaps after watching it, you may disagree with D'Souza's assessment, but its production values and how he constructs the arguments for this theory are both excellent. It's a little dry and the pacing is a bit slow, but that's to be expected of a political documentary.  Just like you don't expect a Shakespearian quality soliloquy in a Jon Woo action flick, you wouldn't expect the ADD eye popping Bayhem that a big budget blockbuster would deliver to appear in a film such as 2016.

But let's get to the content itself:

From the beginning, D'Souza masterfully points out the almost eerie similarities between himself and Obama.  They were both born the same year, graduated from an ivy league college the same year and even married the same year.  Even more so, both have an international influence on their life.  D'Souza's an immigrant from India.  Obama's father was Kenyan and Obama himself lived in Indonesia for several years of his life.

But the biggest similarity is the one that's the centerpiece of D'Souza's theory:  Anti-Colonialism.  Both men share an influence of Anti-Colonialism.  D'Souza's from his life growing up in India.  Obama's collectively from his father (who was part of the movement that overthrew the British in Kenya), his stepfather Lolo Sotoro (to a lesser degree), and his staying in Hawaii (where strong anti-American colonialist sentiment started to spring up in the 60's and 70's).

So what is D'Souza's theory/hypothesis?  He claims that most Americans have Obama framed incorrectly.  They keep trying to put him in a bucket from an American rooted context, but it doesn't fit.  It doesn't explain his actions.  But, when you establish his compass as being Anti-Colonial Marxist (and it's important to make the distinction from that of a general socialist/marxist), something that's rather foreign to most Americans, his actions, a few of which he specifically highlights early on, as President make a lot of sense.

D'Souza does an excellent job at building this case.  He explores how a father who was largely not in his life could serve as such a positive, influential figure, connecting the dots from Obama's own autobiography to  the people that were a part of Obama's younger years.  In doing so, he's able to come out and clinically state how Obama's objectives and his compass are not routed in Americanism, which is far different from any president before him.

I was also able to readily identify the segment where the left is crying racism.  He pretty much says that Obama got elected because he was black.  Yet, what I find missing from the left's indictment is the fact that while D'Souza says this, he's not attempting to cheapen his electoral victory.  Instead, he points to the inevitable overwhelming force of history in the making allowing it to happen.  Electing a black man as president has been seen, even before Obama was a blip on the radar, as a culmination of the Civil Rights movement and proving our country has moved beyond its deep history with racism.  He was the right man in the right time with the prevailing issue being the defeat of racism.  The point in this segment was pretty back loaded though, so if someone immediately saw red, there's a good chance they missed the subsequent points that followed.

Finally, after establishing Obama's Anti-Colonial compass, he revisits the somewhat baffling decisions Obama has made as president that the film showed earlier, applying this anti colonialism context.  This puts it all into place and it's very well done.

From the onset of the film, D'Souza establishes his own conservative credentials.  There's no question which way he leans. Near the end, he not only draws a comparison of Americanism to Anti-Colonialism, he also extrapolates on what type of path an unconstrained Obama (complete with open mic gaffe to Russian PM Medvedev) would take, which fuses flawlessly with his previously constructed argument.

And in the final parts of the documentary, he presents a statement that's been echoed not only by me, but many pundits in this election cycle...  America has a choice between two starkly different directions to take: Americanism or Obama's brand of Anti-Colonialism.

If you're in this election thinking that this is just another run of the mill Democrat vs Republican election, I highly recommend you watch this movie.  If you're a Republican looking for ways to sway your liberal friends to your side, this film will serve as a solid point in your debates.  If you believe in American exceptionalism, you should see this documentary.  And finally, if you're just curious, like I was, you should absolutely see it to draw your own conclusions.

This film is not a scare tactic piece of propaganda.  It builds a solid, well rationalized theory that points to plain facts as evidence.  I'm hoping you'll see it for yourself.  It's worth the money.