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Dinesh D'Souza’s strident film about Obama makes people sit up

by Uttara Choudhury  Aug 20, 2012 13:50 IST

#Barack Obama   #Dinesh D'Souza   #FilmCrit  

New York: Conservative scholar and Mumbai-born filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza has dropped a little surprise on the American moving going public: a modestly budgeted film that deconstructs why President Barack Obama may be toxic for America. The controversial film has already hit box-office gold and is now stirring a strident national debate.

The documentary 2016: Obama's America advances the idea that Obama pursues his father’s left-leaning, “anti-colonial” ideals. According to The New York Times, anti-colonialism is not presented in a warm and fuzzy way in D’Souza’s film but “as flaws consistent with the senior Obama’s multiple relationships, alcoholism and fatal auto accident in 1982.”

The film also explores Obama’s relationship with his incendiary former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama reportedly tried to silence with a payoff of $150,000. The controversial pastor is famous for his "God damn America" remark and black liberation theology.

“D’Souza uses that incident to explain why Obama worked so hard to keep that relationship under wraps, as it would destroy the “good guy” image he diligently cultivated on his way to the presidency,” Bob Adelmann wrote in The New American.

Director Dinesh D'Souza interviewing the president's half-brother George Obama.

“As the movie ends, one is left with a feeling of anger and frustration that someone with goals and purposes and agendas so totally anti-American has been elevated to such a position of power and influence,” he added.

D’Souza, who is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Roots of Obama’s Rage, has argued that Obama has already emasculated NASA and refused to really stunt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He also weighs the impact of other seemingly radical leaders and professors who have influenced Obama’s thinking, including activist and former radical Bill Ayers and Edward Said, a fierce critic of American and Israeli policies and an equally fierce proponent of the Palestinian cause.

A professor of Obama’s at Columbia University, Said in his influential book Orientalism, laid out a vision of history in which cultural power — the power to define others — is linked with the political power to dominate. Said argued that the Western view of the East as sensual, corrupt, vicious, lazy, tyrannical and backward exemplified this power. Said, a founding theorist of post-colonial studies, died in 2003.

The film asserts that Obama has a dream that he has inherited from his father (and professors like Said) that the sins of colonialism be set right and America be downsized.

“One of the themes in the movie is the anti-colonial goal of downsizing America in the name of global justice. So the core idea here is that America has become a rogue nation in the world and also that America enjoys a standard of living that is unconscionably high compared to the rest of the world. So anti-colonialism is a program of global reparations....It’s reparations for global injustice. Obama’s goal is to shrink America,” he told The Christian Post.

What is implied is that Obama has an in-built abhorrence of the rich and seeks to redistribute wealth. The film goes on to explore the dramatic deficit the US has accumulated during Obama’s term. Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government's debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office. D’Souza expresses his concerns regarding how things might play out if Obama is granted another term and can indulge in his welfare projects and no longer worry about getting re-elected.

Ironically, D’Souza shares much with Obama — he was born in the same year as him, married in the same year and attended Ivy League schools at the same time. Born in Mumbai, D'Souza moved to the US to study at Dartmouth College worked in the Reagan White House as a policy analyst. He has been a fellow of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University and the American Enterprise Institute.

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