Anyone remember the last campaign?
Let's see there was Joe Biden as the Democratic VP choice- a man with lots of years in the public eye and plenty of history, and John McCain- the GOP nominee for president who also had a long history of public service. These two were the known commodities.
But the two fresh faces, Sarah Palin and Barrack Obama, were the unknowns. Young, good looking and personable, they both made attractive candidates. The press set out to vet Mrs. Palin immediately.
We soon learned that Palin had transferred to a lot of colleges and that she had played basketball. We saw video of her as a news anchor and even in a beauty pagent playing the flute! We heard about her daring ride from Texas to Alaska so that she could give birth to her last baby in the hospital of her choice, and we read all about her teenage daughter's pregnancy. The big conspiracy "cover up" story was that Palin's baby with Down Syndrome was actually her daughter's child and that the teen was pregnant yet again! We started to know more about the Palin family dynamic than we wanted to.
Then there were all the really awful interviews for Palin including the grilling from Charles Gibson and Katie Couric - tough, painful, hard to watch.
Yet while we were diligently vetting our new VP candidate, the main player seemed to get overlooked. Folks who consider themselves to be "pro-choice" saw him as the guardian of Roe v. Wade. People sick of the war thought he would get us out of the middle East immediately (he hasn't). Others saw John McCain as an extension of George W. Bush and saw their vote as a vote against "that." They knew Obama was from Chicago, they knew he went to college in the US and that he was a United States Senator. That seemed to be enough.
In my opinion D'Souza does the job in 2012 that the press should have done four years ago - he actually vets the man, and he uses Obama's own writings (primary sources) to fuel his research. D'Souza's background makes him uniquely qualified to observe and understand much of the information, particularly from Obama's father's perspective.
D'Souza asks the tough questions about Obama's upbringing and education in Indonesia, and the influence of his mother and grandparents and their friends. This was not the typical American Childhood - how did these influences shape the beliefs and values of our current president?
Long time readers of this blog will know that I have my own "daddy issues." So I could certainly relate to the feelings of a young Barrack - abandoned by a father he only remembered meeting once. When your father chooses not to be your father it does strange things to a kid - something my sister and I have dealt with our entire lives. Barrack Obama dealt with this loss in his life by becoming a better version of his father and he has certainly succeeded in that, on a personal, professional and philosophical level.
The promos for the movie says, "Love Him or Hate Him, You Don't Know Him." D'Souza does not attack Obama in this film - he tries to make sense of him. He's not an apologist for him either. He constructs a clear timeline and provides the information to look inside the mind of the man. He then takes the current trajectory to look at what another term would look like. The viewer gets to decide if that is the future s/he wants or not.
Overall I think it's an important film and I'm sorry something similar wasn't available four years ago. Unlike four years ago, we aren't dealing with cleansing our national conscience by finally putting the stake in the heart of the civil war and civil rights movement - we now know we are above that. We are indeed a people who could elect a person of color to the white house.
This election can't be about feelings - it has to be about facts. Here's a film that's chock full of them.