The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


Well, I did it.  I broke my nearly two year long dry spell and went to see a movie this afternoon.  The last film I saw in a theater was “The King’s Speech.”  That was in November, 2010.  Today I saw, “2016: Obama’s America”.  That is to say that in our theater six other people and I saw it at the “early bird showing”.

The multi-screen theater lobby didn’t seem to be exceptionally crowded.  Well, we’re back to school and it is the day after a holiday.  Or perhaps it was the price of a ticket.  They have gone in less than two years from $5.00 to $7.50 – a fifty percent increase – while we’re told that “real” inflation has crept up by less than four percent in that same time period.  Someone’s making out like bandits.  I’m frankly surprised that we don’t have an OTMT movement (Occupy The Movie Theaters) in full swing.

As I walked to find my theater I passed the concession stand which occupied nearly the size of a small football field.  As I was early I paused to view the bill of fare which was advertised on the large overhead display.  “Hot dog – $6.00;” “Super-sized soda – $4.50;” “Large popcorn – $5.00 (butter $1.00 extra).”  No wonder there was a sign in the lobby, “All food brought in must be consumed before going to your movie theater.”  Junk food elevated to the cost of a gourmet meal.  I’m amazed that even the 1% of the wealthiest Americans can afford this sort of “entertainment.”

I passed on the concession stand and hoped that when I made the turn into the arcade of theaters that the smell of popcorn and hot dogs would dissipate.  They did.

So I found a comfortable space in the theater – being the third of the seven of us to arrive and greeted my two fellow movie-goers who had seated themselves a few rows behind me.  We were already into the announcements (not to be confused with the previews) which were, in essence, mostly advertisements.

However, I was drawn to the fact that there were, in a ten minute period, three separate requests that the patrons should turn off their cell phones.  As I had left mine home, this proved easy for me.  Yes, three separate requests.  Apparently, that is the number necessary to get the attention of those in the audience.

Among our group of seven viewers I am pleased to report that not a single cell phone rang during the course of the movie.  Apparently, repeated requests work – or the fact that we all appeared to be well past our thirties might have had something to do with it.

Then came the previews.  I will admit that one of them about parents trying to wrest control of the public schools from the hands of those in school administration piqued my interest and I may go see it if I can remember it’s name when it is released.  And Hollywood is doing the thirty-sixth remake of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” I presume with more skin evident than in it’s predecessors.  I’ll pass on that.  A few more trailers were shown but I admit that I was able to ignore them.  And then, finally – the lights dimmed and we were treated to the feature which we had paid to see.

There was a reason that I went to see “2016: Obama’s America.”  Every review I read of the film in the Main Stream Media panned it.  Naturally, I thought that sufficient enough reason to take a look.

Writer and director Dinesh D’Souza presented an interesting documentary.  He traces the President’s Marxist-leaning philosophies back to the polygamous, alcoholic father who abandoned him and his mother – almost in an effort to gain paternal recognition and acceptance from a man whom he idealized “in absentia.”

What surprised me was that one of those who had a great deal of influence on President Obama was someone I knew in New York as a child and who is now a Professor of Law at Harvard University, Roberto Mangabeira Unger.  He has also been active in Brazilian politics and ran twice for the Presidency of that country.

Interestingly, Roberto has a background that is not dissimilar to President Obama’s in that his father, who as I recall was a lawyer, died quite young and unexpectedly, leaving him and his sister to be raised by their mother.  It was either in fourth or fifth grade that she decided to return to her native Brazil and pulled her children out of the private schools they attended, leaving New York and their beautiful Park Avenue co-operative behind.  Since then Roberto has been a champion for wealth re-distribution as the only way to achieve an equitable society.  (Does this ring a bell for any of you).

D’Souza makes an interesting case for why it is that Barrack Obama makes the decisions that he makes – based on those with whom he has associated throughout his life.  There is no question – at least based on the evidence that is presented in this documentary – that the President feels comfortable with the philosophies of those with either a socialist or communist approach in their world view.  Frankly, that is more disturbing than if he were merely incompetent which was the view that I held previously.

It is always difficult, if not impossible, to make an absolute case about the psyche and motivations of a person – even if that person is us.  To accomplish that for another individual is certainly challenging – if not downright impossible.  If it were not so, psychoanalysis would not need nearly so many practitioners.

But D’Souza does advance some excellent – if rather chilling points.  To be honest, I prefer my own thesis that President Obama is simply incompetent because it is the more sanguine of the two.  If D’Souza is right, who knew that going to see a movie could reveal what a dangerous person we have chosen to seat at the helm of the American ship of state?

Comments on: "GOING TO THE MOVIES" (13)

  1. Outstanding piece. Your last paragraph really gets to the heart of the matter. I am very disturbed by the possibility that Mr. Obama is more than incompetent.

  2. Regarding the high priced pop corns/soda/hot dog – I don’t play by their (the crooks) rules. Play fair and I’ll play fair – try to screw me, and boy…you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    I always smuggle in my own munchies and drinks. A wife with a hand bag comes in handy – I meant, the bag.

    The ushers? Quite often they don’t care…

  3. I don’t blame you in the least. And here – I haven’t seen an usher for many years.

  4. It is the primary goal of any politician to stay in power. They all would seek to convince us they are totally motivated by an interest to serve their communities and their nation. The only politician I can work with is one who freely admits he/she is power hungry. Once that’s established they have to please me with the programs they promote in order to stay in power.

  5. I tend to share you theory of incompetence in reference to President Obama’s failures. D’Souza has his own baggage of contradictions and misadventures the preclude me from accepting his perspective as either rational or true.

    • If we measure the four years of the Obama presidency by almost any metric, we must certainly agree on his incompetency. I do wonder,, though, if there isn’t something more sinister driving him – D’Souza’s personal baggage not withstanding.

      In one respect he almost appears cavalier (as in the first debate). The image of Nero fiddling while Rome burns leaps into my mind.

  6. I do agree that President Obama by any standard has proven to be inconsistent at best and incompetent at best. He appears lazy, not focused on being the President as much as he and Michelle focus on the perks of the Presidency.

    D’Souza is a mouthpiece of superstition and misinformation twisted to fit his own worldview and letting truth or rational thought intervene when due is not one of his strong suits. His personal character is wanting as well and doesn’t come close to living up to the religious life that he preaches.

    President Obama is a lot like Nero under our current conditions, but D’Souza is trumpeting the irrelevant, while ignoring the more pertinent and believable components of the Obama Administration’s massive growth, massive reach and intrusion in the lives of Americans and insult to the concept of freedom. D’Souza offers little of value, except to himself, in terms of getting more of a conversation going as opposed to simply self-serving propaganda, in my estimation.

    In my view, D’Souza and Obama are more alike than they are different when it comes to personal character, truth telling, and objectivity in dealing with facts.

    • You are obviously far more acquainted with Mr. D’Souza’s background than I. But he certainly has gotten a conversation going.

      As you are fond of fables, I guess the moral of the story rests in your final paragraph, that moral being, “It takes one to know one.”

      • I don’t know anything about D’Souz’a personal life. I have read his biography on Ronald Reagan (“How an ordinary man became an extraordinary leader”). It was outstanding. I read his weekly column for a few years before he retired it. They were consistently insightful, well-written, and quite valuable and relevant. Rick, I guess I don’t have the same take on D’Souza that you do. We’re probably more on the same page when it comes to Mr. Obama.

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