Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 29, 2012

Richard May Reviews “2016 – Obama’s America”

Riley’s Note: Richard May, friend of the blog and political pundit, viewed the “2016 – Obama’s America” film at Sehome cinemas last night. He collected his thoughts and sent them in as a movie review.

From: the Political Enthusiast (who is uncomfortable with irreverent use of the word Junkie)
A Review of 2016 – Obama’s America

Richard May reviews “2016 – Obama’s America”

I can’t decide on my opening line, so I’ll split the difference: I have met Farenheit 911/M. Night Shayalaman, and you sir are no Farenheit 911/M. Night Shayalaman. …Those guys make blockbusters.

The storyteller was a little bit charming, and his research was interesting, but didn’t prove enough to change any minds.
I thought this would be an economy movie. It’s not. It’s a hawk movie. The film’s main point was that Obama wants to reduce the aggressive military pressure that the USA exerts on the world. The filmmaker’s view is that this is a bad thing that makes us less safe from evil nations and terrorists, but he didn’t address the corresponding view that this might make us much safer from other nations and terrorists, since our military influence may be a major source of animosity in the first place. A couple of points jumped out at me.
1. The film didn’t indicate that Romney (or the W Bush GOP) would be better, and constantly criticized the direction of the country with economic indictments and debt statistics that started with “since 2007…”.
2. The film avoided the conclusion that since we are BROKE, that perhaps we simply can’t afford to have ten times the nukes and occupations of everyone else, and our budget might need to be limited to the same 1500 nukes as Russia instead of 5000 spare nukes. The fantasy world of this movie left us to presume that we have all the Monopoly money in the universe to have whatever level of military muscle that would serve us best. Fact is, we are broke and we only spend in temporary debt that will soon collapse us. A huge part of our budget is the military action that may in fact be inspiring terrorists and panicking places like iran in the first place.
The filmmaker points out that Obama, finally, is the first American president with any first-hand, organic insight as to how America looks to the rest of the world. Obama has walked among the world before gaining the rose-colored glasses of American bias, and as a child with no horse in the race, was able to see and feel what the receiving end of colonialism is. He was able to see the crumbs that the rest of the world gathers up under the table of American superiority. This is an insight that George W Bush or Mitt Romney don’t even have about the lower rungs of America, let alone the global community.
I love to hear all viewpoints, so I often get flack from partisans if I acknowledge the good points and facts from both opposing sides of an issue.  I am open to some criticism of Obama. When I saw this film, I was ready to come away and report where this guy had made any solid arguments. But overall, the film maker failed to close the deal, and he tried bolster the holes in his case with less plausible filler, which diluted his more ponderable points.
For example, when Bill Ayers was being a destructive violent protester, Obama was a kid in school. By the time Obama got appointed to the board of a worthwhile, prestigious charitable organization, Ayers was just another respected member of that large and diverse board. Ayers was not Obama’s anarchy tutor. They served on a board together. Another example, yes, one of the hundreds of school teachers Obama had in his years of education was an Arab-American professor who favored Palestine over Israel. Want me to list how many other great men have also had a teacher with that view? Yawn.
I smirked repeatedly, as interviewees (including Obama’s brother) refused to solidly corroborate the filmmaker’s indictments, and they gave answers that could be taken either way. I shrugged my shoulders when he used terms that are meaningless to people who didn’t already agree with the film maker’s Republican viewpoint… calling unrepublican views “anti american” will only impress Rush Limbaugh listeners who didn’t need to watch this movie to sway their vote.
To argue something most effectively, you need to walk a mile in the opposing viewpoints shoes, so that you can express your view using points of reference that are meaningful and credible to your listener’s frame. This film stubbornly held the position that anyone who wants the USA to be less aggressive, menacing, or stockpiled, is aiming to make the USA weaker and a bigger target of our enemies; like that’s what anyone wants? It disregards that many who want our country to be less aggressive believe that a less provocative USA will be less of a target to terrorism, because we won’t be occupying and bombing and controlling other people’s homelands and lives. The omitted view is that we might be safer when we aren’t pissing everyone off so much. The film maker’s failure to grasp or rebut that view, makes his persuasion fail. When he says “Democrats want us to be weak, by having less bombs”, any non-Hawks will think, “um no, we will be safer, if potential terrorists are not living is resentment and fear of our impending airstrikes and nukes.” All he did was point out that Obama wants USA to be come off less like a bully. He presumed that we would find that bad. And when you “presume”, you make a PREZ out of U and ME, …or in this case Barack.


  1. Why not be more direct? The film is war-mongering propaganda for brainwashed authoritarian followers. To assert that President Obama, who basically doubled-down on the Bush administration’s disgraceful unconstitutional assertions of war and surveillance powers in direct breach of his oath of office, is anything but subservient to the military industrial complex is about as ridiculous as saying he’s a Marxist.

    This fellow Shamalayan is trafficking in delusion and folly. To treat his crapola with respect is, IMHO, part of the problem – anything other than scorn and derision for these liars is just plain wimpy.

    • You need to see the movie yourself and then you might not make such irrational statements.

      • Do you think Obama is a Marxist? Do you believe Shamalyan’s assertion that Obama is not supporting the US military?

        And you accuse me of being irrational?

  2. Excellent synopsis by a neutral thinker. Making arguments in today’s American simply means choosing the pre-ordained syntax and vocabulary that resonates with your intended audience. And if all else fails, you can just call it hogwash, denigrate the speaker and walk-off smug in knowing you’ve really made an impression for your side.

  3. It seems from Richard’s “critique” of the movie that it is merely a propaganda tool, meant to be divisive and pleasing to the Republican mentality. Glad Richard paid out the $$ to see it though and remind me that I certainly don’t need to pay to see it! The Republicans are doing a great job of “showing off” at their Convention though. They are definitely the party of liars and mean people.

    • So you are incapable of forming “your own” opinion and just rely on the opinion of a Left Wing Four Flusher like Richard May?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: