“Love him or hate him, you don’t know him.” This is one of the taglines of Dinesh D’ Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America.” D’Souza does an extensive on screen investigation into Obama’s youth and foreign upbringing, suggesting along the way that his socialist presidency derives directly from the influence of his alcoholic, absentee father, the late Barrack Obama Sr., who died in a car crash in 1982. D’Souza says, “We are close linked by our past…but nothing can threaten the future quite as much as the depths of our past.” He claims that Obama’s drive for success was a means to overcompensate the psychological wound he still carries due to being abandoned by his father as a child, and that he utilizes his father’s anti-colonialist, anti-American beliefs in his presidency because of it—to impress the ghost of his father, so to speak. D’Souza aims to further substantiate his theory, quoting Obama in voice over from his autobiography, “Dreams from my Father,” in which the passages convey a reverence for the father he hardly knew.
“If Barrack Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?” This is the driving theme behind D’Souza’s obviously propagandist film, highlighting Obama’s failures as our president and predicting the U.S’s inevitable collapse if he stays in office. To not seem so propagandistic, but perhaps genuine, he at first relates to us his trivial similarities with Obama, but soon after this comparison jumps right into his message. A camera pans to multiple citizens, including celebrities, who say how disappointed they are in Obama. Throughout the film D’Souza speaks in voice over like an infomercial citing evidence that Obama’s radical politics in office (he slashes America’s nuclear arsenal, breaks ties with Israel, nationalizes healthcare, and increases the deficit carelessly) is due in large part because of his father’s anti-colonial influence over him. He even goes to visit Obama’s half-brother in Kenya, George Obama, and asks him why his brother hasn’t lifted a finger to help him out of poverty, meanwhile informing the audience he exploits poor countries like these for their lucrative resources.
His propagandist theory gets old, but the film never fails to entertain. Between quick moving, insightful interviews with industry professionals, and beautiful cinematography where Obama lived or visited (Kenya, Hawaii, Indonesia), this 90 minute documentary is worth seeing, but cannot be taken seriously enough to influence your own politics. After all, D’Souza’s still guessing: “What is Obama’s dream? Is it the American dream, Martin Luther King’s dream, or someone else’s dream?”