2016: Obama’s America–Bad Remake of the Manchurian Candidate?
If you believe Obama is a secret radical Muslim socialist anti-American fascist communist sympathizer with nefarious plans to destroy America from within its highest echelons of government, then have I got a movie for you! In his egregious film, Obama 2016, Dinesh D’Souza overreaches in his attempts to mar Obama, usually relying on guilt by association. His arguments typically go something like this: Obama’s father was a lousy dad. He was an absent father and maybe something of a womanizer. He was also friends with communists. All of which says nothing concrete about Obama’s character.
The film employs copious amounts of armchair psychology to present Obama’s life and accomplishments as being haunted by the clichéd daddy complex. In effect, “Daddy didn’t love me, so now I’m gonna become President and undermine US hegemony.” The plan? Hope and change = bait and switch on a grand scale. This brings us to the film’s main theme: Obama’s supposed anti-colonial worldview, which secretly drives his every move as President. The accusation is so thoroughly embedded in all aspects of D’Souza’s argument it becomes a reflexive truth.
A particularly annoying scene comes when D’Souza mentions his 1985 debate with Jesse Jackson about whether or not racism is still an issue in America. He makes the argument that his skin tone is relatively comparable with Jackson’s, yet he himself rarely experiences (perceives?) racism in his interactions with white Americans. Therefore… what? Academic musings of hypervigilance to racism aside, African-Americans DO face racism every single day, much of it embedded in the deep structure of American society, and most whites (like myself) are oblivious to it until it gets pointed out to us. My point is this: by comparing himself, an Indian (the India kind), to an African-American, D’Souza decontextualizes the racism that African-Americans face from its socio historical roots. He assumes that American racism manifests itself as a blanket, covering all non-whites equally. This is clearly not so, as the histories and experiences of African-Americans and Indians/Indian Americans in this country bear little resemblance. How many racist words can you think of for an African-American? Now, how many can you think of for an Indian? I don’t know a single one, and a google search turned up zilch (Unless you count Apu, of Simpsons fame, but that’s more of a stereotypical name).The fact that some Indians and some African-Americans are similar in skin color is irrelevant. Well, I take that back, it does have some relevance. It shows just how little D’Souza understands about the experience of African-Americans, especially regarding racism, and how ill-equipped he is to engage in a meaningful debate on the topic. Because, when you think about it, his only qualification is his skin color. So much for race no longer mattering…
Toward the end of the film D’Souza presents the laughable notion of “the United States of Islam”, the very conception of which requires ignoring the sociopolitical reality of the Middle East. The name itself is clearly designed to frame this fictitious union as the oppositional doppelganger of America. Of course, Obama is to blame for this monstrosity of democracy. Why is it okay for America and Europe to form unions but not traditionally Muslim countries?… is a question D’Souza does not touch. But what is clear is the unspoken assumption that this is somehow detrimental to world peace and stability, a notion which plays off of ill-conceived fears and blind ignorance, not hard facts.