Saturday, July 5, 2014
This movie is labeled as a documentary, and it's done in documentary style, but what it really is is a political commentary by D'Souza. With that in mind, my review will be a different type of review because what I will be doing is responding to the points he makes. I guess this means I will be spoiling the movie, so that's a fair warning to everyone, but given the style of the movie, I don't really feel that this is a spoilable movie. This is more like if I were to write a blog post responding to a presidential address or a political debate.
To begin this political discussion, D'Souza spends a bit of time recapping his previous movie 2016: Obama's America. I personally thought that was a laughable movie for various reasons. I'm not going to jump into those reasons here, but D'Souza tells us his predictions from that movie and then essentially tells us that all his predictions were right and thus he fears for the current state of our country. That made me raise an eyebrow. First off, it's a little arrogant for him to start his discussion by tooting his own horn. A bigger issue, though, is that I really think he was quite off and thus I don't know how he can honestly state that he was right, because he really wasn't. So this was a bad start.
Then we get into the portion of the movie where he spends the most time. This is actually a discussion about the United States. Specifically, D'Souza tells us that there are U.S. Citizens living here that don't like the country. His discussion from this is split into five different reasons: the treatment of Native Americans, the obtaining of Mexico, slavery, foreign policy, and capitalism. In each of these categories, he presents the problem and then justifies the United States on this, obviously trying to persuade those who feel that way why they shouldn't hate the United States. I will briefly tackle each of these subjects.
Next point, Mexico. He gave the example of people in Mexico or even Mexicans living in America that think we stole their land and that one day they think they deserve to have it back. I really had no idea those people existed. His response to that was a discussion on the Mexican/Texas/American war. I'm shady on that history, but I think he was right in saying this was fair conquest. But don't quote me on that. His next point was pretty alarming, though. He referred the fact that millions of Mexicans illegally immigrate to the USA every year so they shouldn't be complaining that we took their land because ours is better. He also mentioned that many Mexicans probably wish that we would've kept all of Mexico after we won the war instead of giving them half of their country back. These comments felt very racist to me.
Third point is slavery. Slavery is another one of those aspects of our early history that I will honestly admit was a very dark time. The fact that we supported slavery was an awful thing. No excuses. In justifying this, D'Souza comes up with an argument that I think is just really weird. According to him, when we look back on the slavery era, we should see it as a positive thing because lots of countries and nations in the past have implemented slavery, but we are the country that abolished it. Well, yes it's good that we abolished it, but just because many nations and countries have had slavery doesn't make it less awful. It was bad that we had slaves in this country and there is no way to justify it.
The last two points he made were about foreign policy and capitalism. I'm not going to dive too deeply into those because I am not educated enough on them, but he noted that our foreign policy was good because we have helped a lot of countries and with capitalism he noted that we aren't a greedy country. These points didn't seem awful to me, but it also felt like things were a lot more complicated that he made them out to be, although I don't know enough to make an official judgement call.
In the end, D'Souza spent this whole movie trying to convince me that the current state of our country is awful and we need to go back to the good old days. Yet all he did was convince me that he himself was a crazy man with crazy political views that can't be trusted one bit. His arguments weren't convincing or thought-provoking at all and all his historical arguments were messed up and racist towards Mexicans and Native Americans. I suppose if you are one who does think Obama is just about as evil as Hitler, you may like this. Otherwise this is just a complete waste of time. My grade for America is a 4/10.