Monday, September 10, 2012

Why aren't we talking about it? Questions about Obama's America

On Saturday my husband and I went to the movies.  After a full summer of children, particularly my smaller children, I wanted to go see "something that would make me think."
So I choose "Obama's 2016"
My husband was not terribly enthusiastic, he would have preferred to see "Lawless" (and I hope to see it soon) but I countered with:  There is a documentary in theaters about a current president of the United States, in an election year, and nobody is talking about it.  You don't think that is weird?  I think that is weird and I want to see it.

So we went.

Like many of my friends I do not talk about politics much.  Politics, religion and in some circles money, are all taboo subjects.  They aren't polite, people get offended, so we avoid them.  Personally, I would prefer to talk about them if we could, particularly if we could get past the given emotional issues and actually have a discussion where we exchange ideas and either strengthen our own stance or find a loophole that makes us question our previous assumption.

Back to the movie, I thought it was a very well done documentary.  I have read "Dreams from My Father," by Barack Obama.  I read it four years ago so it is not fresh in my mind.  This book is the starting point for D'Souza and his question "what is Obama's dream?"  D'Souza is the president of King's College in NY, and he wrote "The Roots of Obama's Rage" (one Amazon page says it was published in 2010 and another in 2011 so - he wrote it recently) and "Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream" published in 2012.  I have not read D'Souza's books.

No one I now is talking about this movie and four years ago no one I knew had read "Dreams from My Father."  I am more frustrated because I think that the people I know are letting themselves be "played."  Its all "gay rights" "abortion rights" "education" in the stump speeches and that is what people are talking about.
{I am not anti-gay.  I personally do not support pro-choice politics but for the most part I'm happy to stay out of it.  But I do feel, that fundamentally, our country is on the brink of change and lifestyle issues are simply not as big a deal. (Yes - you could point out that this is because I am married to a man, and have a nice life, I am aware of this.)}

I thought that D'Souza did a good job explaining his own bias so that in viewing the documentary you would know the lens you are looking through.  I always like to know the source of the information.
D'Souza asks:  Who is this man Obama?  What does he stand for?  Where will America be in 4 years?

I felt that D'Souza is asking valid questions based on having read Obama's book and on the shifts in the policy of the United States.  D'Souza brings up changes in the policy of the United States towards Israel.  He brings up changes in our relationship with England.  He brings up our relationships with various Arab nations.  Discrepencies in the energy policy.  I read an article last spring that stated this election will not be about domestic policy, or international policy, or gay rights, or Iran, but it will be about how our country works.  Fundamentally, who are Americans?  I think the questions D'Souza asks point in that direction.

I am not interested in recapping the movie.  I am more interested in why no one is talking about it. I posted on my Facebook page that I'd gone to see it, and that I was hoping to discuss it.  Over 48 hours, 2 people out of some 200 friends said anything about that.  Sure, maybe they didn't see it - but I posted that I beat my husband at Fantasy Football and I got 6 responses to that in an hour.  Which one matters more?

So I'm going to put it out there in the blog-o-sphere.  Why is it that you think we don't talk politics in polite conversation?  Why do you think no one is talking about a movie, about a current president, in an election year? (really, am I the only person that thinks that is crazy?)

If you have seen the movie, I'd love to know what you thought.  If you don't want to see it I'd love to know why.  If you have a theory on why no one is talking about it I'd love to hear that too.

an interesting review I found by Melvyn Fein

1 comment:

Catherine Kimball-Eayrs said...

Cai -- I think those are all really good questions. I saw your post and didn't comment because I hadn't even heard about the movie! I was going to go read about it, but was working this weekend and ran out of time. Now that I hear a little more...I'm not sure I would go see it because it would take energy on my part to think/digest and most days I just don't feel like politics is where I want to send my energies ( what little I have!). I
For your larger question -- I stay away from politics mostly because I have to. I need to be careful, as a federal employee, to not be "campaigning" for a particular candidate.
I think folks don't like to talk about politics because it is very personal ...but there is probably more to it than that!
Definitely makes me think!