My View of the documentary, “Obama’s America”


Cover of "Dreams from My Father: A Story ...

Cover via Amazon

Sept 9, 2012

Obama’s America is a documentary by Writer/Director Dinesh D’Souza, an Indian born intellectual. It’s based on some writing he’s already done on Obama. D’Souza’s formerly worked for Ronald Reagan. He’s now president of a Christian conservative college in New York.

He traces Obama’s parentage. He claims the biggest influence on Obama was his absent father, a Kenyan native political figure who hated colonialism.   He even goes so far as to bring in a psychologist to discuss Obama’s possible feelings toward his absent father. It reminded me of Clint Eastwood talking to the empty chair at the Republican Convention.

If you know anything about Obama’s life, you will know that he only spent one month with his father. Obama’s mother was an anthropologist who pushed Obama to get a good education. When Obama was in high school he lived with his white grandparents in Hawaii to attend a good private school.  If you heard his speech at the Democratic Convention he referred to both of them. His grandfather served in WWII, and was a mediocre salesman. His grandmother worked her way up the career ladder in a bank. You would guess that maybe they influenced him more heavily than a man he spent a month with, and corresponded with on and off.

D’Sousa also takes sections of “Dreams From my Father” to make his case. It’s all out of context, and he plays fast and loose with it.  He makes a big deal of the fact that the book is not entitled “Dreams of my Father.”  I though it was  a pretty big leap. He even tracks down one of Obama’s half-brothers who is living in a shack in Kenya. I guess this is to prove that Obama isn’t a nice upstanding individual. He can’t get the  half-brother to bad-mouth Obama. He does try.

He also brings up all the old conspiracy theories again. At least he doesn’t question where Obama was born. According to D’sousa Obama was born in Hawaii. Last time I heard it was part of the USA.

He spends half the movie following Obama’s path during his childhood.  He even goes to Indonesia to guess what Obama might have gotten out of living in that country with his mother and step-father. It reminds D’Sousa of India. (I guess that’s why he doesn’t want to live in either place.)

If you’re an Obama supporter you’re not going to like this documentary. Your going to think he doesn’t prove any of his points. If you are suspicious of Obama, you will probably agree with everything suggested by D’Sousa, irrational as it may sound.

The most important thing is that D’Sousa, like Michael Moore, can express their opinion and make documentaries to support their points of view. Let’s face it. That’s what makes America great.

This is my view not a review.  From my point of view, don’t waste your time.

If you’ve seen it, I’d appreciate your comments!

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“Barack Obama The Story” by David Maraniss: A Review


Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to understand where Barack Obama might be coming from read this unauthorized biography by David Maraniss. The author has good credentials. He won a Pulitzer prize  for a series of stories he wrote about Clinton, and works at the Washington Post.

If you don’t like detailed histories, this book is not for you. The author gives you plenty of history. (Maybe, more than you want or need to know.)

President Obama’s Family History

The book studies President Obama’s background in-depth.  It takes you all the way from his great grandparents on both sides.  It’s a parallel story taking place in Midwest Kansas  and Kenya, Africa. Maraniss  described everything: people, places and geography.

The author begins the story in 1926 in Kansas with the suicide of Obama’s great grandmother, Ruth, at age 26.

“From the time of their mother’s death [Obama’s  grandfather and great-uncle] through the rest of their school days, they lived with their maternal grandparents in El Dorado, setting a generational pattern that would be repeated a half century later,” writes Maraniss.

In the next chapter Maraniss goes into the Kenyan side, starting with Obama’s  grandfather and grandmother. He shows that there is sharpness and intellect on both branches of Obama’s family. There is adventure,  and daring on both sides too.

President Obama’s Background

We don’t even hear about  President Obama until Chapter 5. His mother, repeats the family pattern. She falls in love with his Kenyan father while attending the University of Hawaii. (He is attending the university because of an exchange program), becomes pregnant, marries the first Obama,  and divorced him when President Obama was 2 years old. (She was unaware that he already had a Kenyan wife and child.)

We learn all about the first Barack Obama, [President Obama’s father], a man with great promise, brilliance, and charisma. Unfortunately, he also has a drinking problem that proves to be his downfall.

We get to know President Obama’s mother— Ann Dunham—an anthropologist and dedicated mother—who leaves Obama in the care of his grandparents at different times in his life. This couldn’t have made him feel too secure.

President Obama only spends a month with his biological father in 1971. They do correspond over the years, and his mother makes sure he identifies with his African background.

Years after her first divorce, his mother remarries, this time to an Indonesian man.  They live in Indonesia for several years, and welcome President Obama’s sister, Maya, into the family.  After the marriage falls apart, she and Maya stay in Indonesia where Ann worked as an anthropologist.

President Obama is sent back to Hawaii to attend a prep school. He is granted admittance into  the school because his grandfather has connections. (Later, Maya, attends the same school.)

It’s not until he goes to high school, that he earnestly begins exploring his black background. He finds a place in high school by playing basketball, and being a good student.

A defining moment of confusion in his life occurs when he overhears his grandmother telling his grandfather she is nervous about a black man at her bus stop.

“Leaving and being left were the repeating themes of “Barry Obama’s [President Obama’s] young life. ..his mother leaving his family. His father leaving the family….All in the continuum of the family history,” writes Maraniss.

All the while, Obama, is portrayed by others who knew him as very smart, affable, and responsible.  He is repeatedly described as being cautious. The book takes us up to the time he enters Harvard Law School.

The book also covers his undergraduate college years. ( Yes, he did smoke some marijuana and inhaled.) It also describes his work as a community organizer in Chicago.  There are a few girlfriends here and there too. (There isn’t anything about the First Lady).

If you don’t want to read such a complex book, I suggest you read Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father.