By Richard Larsen
What will the United States look like by 2016, if Barack Obama is re-elected in November? Will it look much like it does today, or will it be dramatically different, economically and in world stature? These are the most fundamental questions posed by the blockbuster (by documentary film standards) movie 2016, Obama’s America, based on the 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage researched and written by Dinesh D’Souza, and produced by Gerald R. Molen, who won an Academy Award for Schindler’s List.
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, D’Souza came to the States as an exchange student at Dartmouth College where he graduated with high honors. He became the editor of Policy Review, which caught the attention members of the Reagan administration who recruited him to the White House as a policy analyst. Currently serving as President of King’s College in New York, D’Souza has been a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Investor’s Business Daily has called D’Souza one of the most influential policy researchers and analysts in the country.
The strength of D’Souza’s research for the 2016 movie is not just in his reliance on primary sources for the book and the movie, but in the close parallels between his background and that of our 44th president. Both were raised in European colonial countries, both immigrated to the U.S., both received Ivy League educations, both became editors of major publications, and both went on to careers in public service. These parallels, laid out with precision at the beginning of the film, establishes a foundation that D’Souza’s research and perceptions place him in a unique position to assess and analyze those early influences that dramatically affected Barack Obama’s worldview, and more precisely, his view of America.
The intent of the movie is well articulated on the movie’s website. “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?’”
D’Souza doesn’t engage any of the conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth, religion, Social Security number, or sealed college records. His entire focus is on what he discovers from Obama’s book and from his own primary sources. The movie’s co-producer, Doug Sain, said that Dinesh “walks on solid ground,” with his research and sources.
The movie draws heavily from Barack Obama’s autobiographical narrative attributed to him, published in 1995, Dreams From My Father. References from the book within the movie are exceptionally poignant as they are from the audiobook version, with Obama reading the excerpts D’Souza uses.
The book tells the Obama story from his birth to when he enrolled in college at Harvard. The early narrative relates how his father, Barack Obama, Sr. of Kenya affected the young Barack’s attitudes about life, relationships, and politics, based largely on what his mother, Ann Dunham, told him. Since his parents were separated when he was about two, almost everything the young Barack knew about his father was from what his mother and maternal grandparents told him. Yet those dreams from his father, as related to him, were sufficient to form the philosophical and introspective thread of an autobiography.
Drawing from quotes in Obama’s book, D’Souza illustrates how his mother’s radicalism and his father’s anti-colonialism and self-avowed socialism guided him in his selection of school friends and associates, as well as what he read, and who he idealized.
D’Souza tracks the autobiographical and historical influences in Obama’s life, the people he actively sought out, associated with, and learned from, and refers to them as Obama’s “founding fathers.” They include the self-proclaimed Communist activist Frank Marshall Davis, the alleged anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright, the terrorist and founder of the Weather Underground Bill Ayers, the anti-Israel professor at Columbia, Edward Said, and the radical Harvard professor Roberto Unger who mentored Obama and taught him in a class titled “Reinventing Democracy.”
Based on the evidence D’Souza presents, Obama’s own statements and firsthand interviews, Obama is an anti-colonialist who is heavily influenced by the ideals of socialism. “He adopted his father’s position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America,” D’Souza explains. From an interview, a friend of Obama Sr. says that “the son and the father are basically the same,” while describing the father’s dream of 100% taxation and a socialist state to take care of everyone’s needs.
From his research, D’Souza shows why Obama rejects American exceptionalism, and why he declared just before the 2008 election that we were days away from “fundamentally transforming America.” He is able to explain why Obama wants to reduce the global influence of the U.S. while increasing the nations that have been “plundered” by U.S. and Western domination.
The body of research is not inclusive, nor does it attempt to be so. D’Souza has an hour and a half of movie time to work with, not a miniseries, so his research that made it into the film is only of supportive evidence.
The film concludes by analyzing the affect of the massive debt and deficits under Obama’s term, nearly as much debt as was amassed under the previous 43 presidents combined. D’Souza interviewed former Comptroller General of the United States, David M. Walker, appointed by President Clinton. He described America as a “sinking ship” in a sea of our own debt. He points out that the country is rapidly heading towards a debt crisis that could collapse the U.S. economy within the next two to three years if we continue on our present course with no correction.
The mainstream media typically goes to great lengths to examine the background of our presidential candidates, but was conspicuously reticent four years ago in its vetting of Obama, and has done little to compensate for their omissions since then. This movie is an attempt to do what the media failed to do. As such, it should be required viewing by all who consider themselves to be informed voters, as the research is meticulous, and the evidentiary conclusions are sobering with far-reaching implications and ramifications.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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