When people from other states and cities would ask me in 2007-08 what worried me most about Barack Obama, I usually surprised them by answering, “Where he’s from and who he hangs with.”
Not, “Because he’s a Democrat and they are total doo-doo heads.” Not, “I’ve studied his long-term tariff policy with Finland and find some troubling inconsistencies.” Where he’s from. Who he hangs out with.
Where is he from? Why, my hometown of Chicago, of course. The dude spent his entire adult life, and received his training as a politician, in the most corrupt political system since latter-day Ancient Rome. And who did he hang out with? Who were his influences? What ideology and group of men shaped his worldviews?
Welcome to your answers, America. You’ll find them in a 90-minute documentary entitled 2016: Obama’s America.
Dinesh D’souza has taken flack in recent years for his “obsession” with the life,times, and influences of our 44th president. Perhaps some of it is deserved. Perhaps most of it is not. Honestly, for the purposes of reviewing D’souza’s new film, I don’t even care about all of that. What I care about is the extremely well-made documentary that he has put together for our viewing/learning pleasure.
Here’s how the filmmaker describes the project:
“2016 Obama’s America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man’s past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, “If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?”
Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to America’s ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didn’t know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him–who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world.
Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh D’Souza races against time to find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankind’s greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into America’s empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future.
Emotionally engaging, 2016 Obama’s America will make you confounded and cheer as you discover the mysteries and answers to your greatest aspirations and worst fears.”
Seriously, folks: this thing is really good. I am someone who despises (with a passion) the pop-culture garbage that is often churned out in the name of conservatism (or Christianity) and that we who grow up in that world are forced to endure with a false grin painted on our faces. So when I come across something like 2016, I want to give credit where credit is due. It’s well-made. It’s fast-paced, covers a lot of ground, but doesn’t lose the audience. Apart from Dinesh’s technicolor-dream-coat-like wardrobe, and the fact that they put the great Shelby Steele in the film – talking on a stupid cell-phone!!! – I thought it was visually stunning (for a documentary).
The film succeeds in painting a disturbing picture of the junior Senator from Illinois who somehow ended up as our Commander-in-Chief. Not that Barack Obama is evil, but that the things that shaped his worldview are ideals and values that don’t reflect what even most liberals in this country believe. Anti-colonialism, and what not. (If you don’t know what that term means, please Bing it on Google.) In 2016 there is a story being told. It’s an investigation of the intersection of bad history and flawed ideology. It’s about ideas, and the very real consequences that emanate from them.
It’s also subtly about the importance of family and parenting and what we teach our kids, grand-kids, and relatives. Dinesh’s own personal journey from Mumbai to Dartmouth to the Reagan administration and beyond is compelling and adds an important stabilizing credibility to the film’s tone.
If I had any real hang-up about the film it was that too much time was spent at the end prognosticating about “what America will possibly look like in 2016.” Certainly it is fair game to extrapolate out what will happen if we keep spending at our current pace, but I don’t think Dinesh realized how powerful the narrative he had already constructed by the 4/5th’s mark of the documentary truly was. The audience can connect a lot of those dots, and if you’ve kept our attention to this point – if we’ve accepted your premises and find your reasoning to be sound – we don’t need to be tucked into bed at the end. Conversely, if someone in the crowd was skeptical of what he/she was hearing by that point, casting dire predictions for an Islamic caliphate from Casablanca to Kabul should Obama be re-elected won’t cause a sudden change of heart.
Whatever else I’ve said here aside: you need to see this movie. Not only is it something the Right can be proud of. Not only is it captivating from start-to-finish. It’s a chance to vote with your wallet. It’s a chance to send a message to would-be producers and writers and directors that we will support quality content that isn’t simply preaching to the choir.
Realize the dreams from your favorite blogger, and go see 2016: Obama’s America.
(For another, better, review…check out my friend Dr. Hunter Baker’s re-cap on his personal blog right here!)
Authored By A Voice in the Wilderness