Saturday, August 25, 2012

Obama 2016, the movie (a review)

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."  William Faulkner



I went to go see 2016: Obama's America last night.  I noticed Smitty's review over at The Other McCain and I agree with his take of the film.  As Smitty noted, while the movie does try to project what is in store for us if Barack Obama is reelected, it is really more about exploring what made Barack Obama, the man.

Dinesh D'Souza does a very good job at explaining the influence of Barack Obama's mostly absent father through the projection of his leftist and anti-Western mother Ann Dunham.  Ann Durham always spoke highly of Barack Obama, Sr., admiring him for his anti Western and colonial stance, portraying him as a man of principle and conviction who did not compromise his values.  The overall theme of the movie is how Barack Obama, Jr. adopted what he perceived to be an anti-western, anti-colonial perception that shapes his presidency and his political philosophy.

Only later in his adult life does Barack Obama hear, from one of his half sisters, that the idealized father he imagined did not match up with the actual man.  Obama's sister describes a bitter angry alcoholic, who raged at how his life had turned out in Kenya.  This revelation, while disturbing to young Obama, does not make him abandon his father and mother's political principles.

None of this is new for people who have paid attention to Barack Obama's history.  Connections to Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Edward Said, and Jeremiah Wright are explored, as surrogate fathers who helped shape develop and harden young Obama's political identity.  D'Souza uses Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father, as the structure of the story.  Revealing factual incidents in Obama's life are lifted directly from DFMF.  D'Souza does a good job with the narrative and, unlike Michael Moore, D'Souza (while up front in his own position) plays it fairly strait.  D'Souza is very careful with the facts, and does not stray from Obama's official history.

It will be preaching to the choir to most of you.  There is a lot more that could be said, which is impossible to do in a 90 minute film.  I doubt it will draw large numbers of independents and Democrats to movie theaters (although it is doing well and will be popular with conservatives).  It is the type of movie that might persuade some people who voted for Obama. While I wish it success in the theaters, I hope this movie is out on DVD and Netflix for greater circulation and impact before the 2012 Election.  

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