2016: Obama’s America is a movie that under normal circumstances wouldn’t exist. A documentary about race, the president’s past, his father’s Kenyan roots and Communist ties, and how it all shapes and guides Mr. Obama to this day would have your average filmmaker run out of town by pitchfork-wielding media. Thank goodness Dinesh D’Souza isn’t your average filmmaker.

The tagline for Dinesh’s movie is “Love him, hate him, you don’t know him.” People can have that debate about President Obama, but they can’t have that debate about D’Souza. A lot is known about him. He’s an immigrant from India. He’s an intellectual. He’s an excellent debater (watch old videos of him sparring with the late Christopher Hitchens and you won’t be disappointed). Two of his most impressive works that are not included on the movie’s website are The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values In An Age Of Techno-Affluence and Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus. In short, he’s a very intelligent man, and his pigmentation and background make it impossible for cable news talking heads to distract attention away from his central arguments with charges of racism.

The thing that makes 2016: Obama’s America so piercing is that all of D’Souza’s conclusions are undergirded by Obama’s own words from Dreams From My Father. The central idea is that Obama, abandoned by his biological father, struggled for years to find his identity. His father’s ghost haunted him constantly, and it wasn’t until Obama went to Kenya to visit the grave that his identity was solidified:

“How to explain the emotions of that day. I can summon each moment in my mind almost frame by frame. It wasn’t simple joy that I felt in each of these moments, rather it was a sense that everything I was doing — every touch and breath and word carried the full weight of my life. That a circle was beginning to close so that I might recognize myself as I was — here, now, in one place. For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept. When my tears were finally spent I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was and what I cared about was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America, the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I had witnessed in Chicago, all of it was connected with this small of plot of earth an ocean away. Connected by more than the accident of the name or the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father’s pain. My questions were my brother’s questions. Their struggle, my birthright,” (Barack Obama).

D’Souza says that moment for Obama was were he determined “not to be like his father, but to take his dream. Where the father had failed, he will succeed. In doing so, perhaps he can become worthy of his father’s love. The love he never got.”

If one buys D’Souza’s premise, then his interviews with extended family, as well as friends and academics close to Obama’s father end up constructing a convincing psychological profile of our current president. Obama’s core values then appear to include a third-world anti-colonialism that is anathema to America’s founding.

The conclusions of 2016: Obama’s America are, frankly, disturbing. Given that so much of D’Souza’s documentary pulls from the president’s own words, it would be silly to dismiss his claims as the desperate fabrications of a “right wing” lunatic. In fact, one of D’Souza’s strengths is his ability to ask a very specific question that he knows will elicit valuable information, at which point he sits back and lets the subject metaphorically shoot himself in the foot.

There is a reason media outlets have not covered this film and reviewers have largely ignored it. Luckily, moviegoers have not. Love D’Souza or hate him, he’s attempting to do the job reporters have not. If you have the time, check out 2016: Obama’s America. It’s a thought-provoking film that’s well worth the price of admission.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

10 comments

  1. My wife and I saw this last night. Couldn’t get best friends to go as the though with all the stress of this election that the movie would be too depressing. We didn’t find it so, BUT it validated everything we have thought and voiced about the seriousness of this election and the necessity, for the survival of this country and possibly the world, that Obama be decisively defeated in this election.

    Obama, if people had been listening, told us what he thinks of America and how he intended to “change”, code for destroy, it.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Frank. Indeed, it’s rather fascinating that so much of who Barack Obama is and what drives him is there for anyone to see … although most people rely on media to vet our candidates — media that is not invested in digging through his past. The people who have the loudest microphones sat silent in 2008…

  2. Unfortunately its not now showing and probably will never show in the People’s Republic of Vermont

    “…Now, Rocky Mountain Pictures is expanding the anti-Obama documentary into 1,090 theaters this weekend (it will play in 49 out of 50 states — everything but Vermont), ”

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/08/23/2016-obamas-america-box-office/

    Apparently the owners of theaters here have wimped out and are hiding under their popcorn machines, scared to be made a target by liberal loonies.

    However, when Michael Moore Schlockumentaries are released, theaters in Rutland, Montpelier and Burlington book them for weeks, even though the box office sucks.

    May have to import a bootleg DVD somewhere.

  3. Normally I don’t see documentary films in the theater, but this one sounds like it’s worth seeing! I’ll definitely have to check it out.

    1. You will not be disappointed! The most interesting thing is the crowds lingering in the halls of the theater after each viewing carrying on enthusiastic conversation. We, my wife and I, have NEVER seen people hanging around after a movie, fiction or documentary type, discussing it in the halls and parking lot of the theater. It is like the people were thankful to have found and were unaware that others think as they do. . .particularly here in the Peoples Republik Of Kalifornia.

  4. I have about as much desire to see this as I do one of Michael Moore’s one-sided propaganda films.

    One thing to add, though. You confused the hell out of me with your reasoning that “a third-world anti-colonialism” is an anathema to America’s founding?

    co·lo·ni·al·ism  
    /kəˈlōnēəˌlizəm/
    Noun

    The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

    Like the British did the colonies? So, having an “third-world” anti-colonial attitude is an object of loathing to America’s founding? The colonies were considered pretty back-country during that era so I have to scratch my head at that statement. I think you have it backwards.

    I don’t get how D’Souza is tring to turn this into some kind of bad word for the Tea Party crowd. Baffles the mind at the incredible irony of it all.

    1. I’m glad that you mentioned the “third-world colonialism” point. It’s discussed at length in the movie. It might “baffle” your mind, but there are very big differences between what constitutes “anti-colonialism” in parts of the world today (e.g., Venezuela) and the “anti-colonialism” of our founding.

      I love that liberals compare D’Souza to Michael Moore. D’Souza is an academic and a scholar. Look at his works cited pages in “An End to Racism” or any of his more scholarly books, and then compare them to anything Michael Moore has put out.

      Moore makes a movie on Iraq … and then never even goes there. D’Souza makes a movie on Obama’s past and goes to Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii, etc. to interview subjects close to the president and his father. D’Souza is a debater who takes on the best and brightest liberal minds in the world. Moore goes on MSNBC.

      D’Souza is a president of a college. Moore has the waistline of William Howard Taft.

      Cheap shot on that last one? Sure.

    2. Whoa now. Did you get the part about me not wanting to see Moore’s one-sided “documentaries” either? That implies I am not his fan. Not sure why I had to read through the “I love how liberals” rant involving Moore. It has nada to do with me or my point, nor am I a liberal.

      I read what you wrote about Venezuela and the differences, but the word retains the same meaning in the Oxford dictionary as it did back in the US colonial era so I’m going to stick with that instead of Chavez’s or D’Souza’s usage. I’m open to hearing more about your perceived differences.

      D’Souza is a twat. Scholarly work? Racism is dead? This article makes the point better than I can. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1346

    3. I just had a guy on reddit tell me D’Souza was like Michael Moore. I’ve also seen it in a few other message forums, and then you threw out his name as well, implying D’Souza was even in the same league as Moore. Not even close. D’Souza is conservative, but his film is most-certainly thought provoking and not nearly as one-sided as a Moore flick.

      Hate to tell you, my friend, but just because you use the Oxford dictionary, it doesn’t mean that’s how academics, regular Joes, media use it. Try asking 10 different people to “define” racism or to “define” poverty. The liberal definition of both of those terms departs quite a bit from the dictionary definition.

      I remember my days back at USC, and my profs had a much more expansive definition of anti-colonialism than your dictionary… I’ll try and check out your link later. Back to work.

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