The political hit job movie,  2016: Obama’s America is now out in DVD which means I got to see it.

Film Summary: President Obama is trying to please his Marxist/anti-colonial father by remaking America to punish her sins, and that is why the US is going to hell.

No, it’s not quite that bad, but the writer behind the film, Dinesh D’Souza, seems to be projecting his own experience with the anti colonial mindset in India onto President Obama.

Personally, I don’t think that is the reason for Obama’s agenda.

However, to support his premise, he does an excellent job at relating the intellectual mindset behind the anti colonial/anti Western mindset of too many in our Universites, and that part makes the film worth watching.

In other words, if you want to learn the intellectual back-story of the anti Vietnam war movement, look no further. If you want to learn the intellectual back-story of the anti Americanism of today’s Europeans, look no further. If you want to learn about the intellectual predecessors of the anti American Islamicist movement, look no further. Heck, if you are too busy to read the screeds of Noam Chomsky, this is your film.

But blaming Obama’s ideological mindset on his father? No, I’m not convinced.

Obama didn’t learn these things from his father: He imbibed it from his mother’s milk.

Back in those days, progressive students slept with “people of color” to prove they were liberal. The fact that Obama’s mom did not abort her kid ( which was the usual next step for these gals) shows that maybe she did love Obama Senior, and the fact that he married her shows that the love was mutual, (since by doing so might have put him into trouble with his scholarship and immigration, who were aware he was already married in Kenya).

As for Obama Senior’s problems in Africa: his father could not find work because he was from the wrong party/wrong tribe. Never attribute to ideology what can be explained by tribal feuding. Was he “anti colonialist”?Probably, but like most Africans with large extended families, one doubts he would have been faithful to the party if he could have had a decent job with the other side.

What is overlooked in this is that Obama indeed did have a father figure: His stepfather Lolo Soltero, who is ignored in the film. Soltero was flexible: he was anti colonialist, but after he grew up and his country was independent, he chose to improve his country by capitalism, allowing his family to escape poverty. The film paint his wife Anne as the ideological freeko, a rabid Marxist who opposed his job giving in to the rich, who refused to go to dinner parties to help him get ahead in business, and ultimately divorcing her husband.

Yet, as one who worked overseas (while single), here I have to sympathize with Anne. Back then, (at least in Africa, where I worked) having a “European” wife was a status symbol, but she wasn’t supposed to do any more than be pretty at parties and do a little charity work on the side, while living in the “foreign” ghetto. To a woman brought up to think women have hands and brains and  should use them, it would be a prison (which is why I didn’t take up an offer of marriage to do this back then).

Anne’s frustration might have rubbed off on her son, but again, no proof. Even the fact he was left with the grandparents to raise as a teenager while Anne went off to do anthropological work in Asia ignores that this is a common alternative for children of working parents, from missionaries to Filipino Overseas foreign workers. As one of my friends explained: If I take my daughter with me, she has to go to second rate schools and be raised by a baby sitter: at least with my parents I know she is loved.

So we get the story of a lost teenager with no father figure except his dead father, and a Marxist black man whose relationship is left unexplored. No Lolo Soltero, no grandfather, no explanation that the “Marxist” friend was a friend of his grandfather, and that like most parents who raise children from other races/cultures, we usually try to get them connections with their birth background so they become proud of their heritage (in Obama’s case, the black community).

So D’Souza’s premise, that he became socialist to please his birth father, and that this idea was drummed into him by a frustrated Marxist mother, is flawed, because we have no evidence his mother was a rabid Marxist nor do we have evidence his father was an anti colonial zealot.

Finally, it is an open secret that much of the book “Dreams from my Father” was edited/rewritten by a ghost writer who is a rigid Marxist. So how much of the pattern of the story and how much of the ideological tinge is from the editor and how much is from the President?

However, a lost boy in college may have latched onto the progressive cult that was de rigor in the universities. Many children at that point who have not have a strong idea of self latch into the various subcultures of college, and that, not a quest for a lost father, is probably the reason for Obama’s rigid ideology.

So should you watch the movie? If you are looking for insights into the President, probably not.

But if you want a history lesson on the anticolonialism/progressive mindset in the universities before the Vietnam war, and want insight into how the rigid ideas of an evil west versus a sinless poor third world persisted, despite visible evidence otherwise from anyone actually living in these countries, this is an easy to watch film.

The real irony is that the American president does seem to believe in these talking points, ignoring that capitalism has resulted in a growing middle class in Asia, and now in parts of Africa, has changed that easy to follow meme into a much more nuanced story.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She has worked in two African countries while younger.

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