Author and film maker Dinesh D’Souza’s
latest film opened nationwide last Thursday. It is a history lesson in two parts.
It starts with a short and somewhat creepy sequence of swirling cartoon representations of different Democrat politicians to the tune of “Happy Days are Here Again”. The movie then begins with a re-enactment of the sentencing phase of D’Souza’s trial for violation of campaign finance laws. This was the beginning of part one.
Yes, it’s true, Dinesh D’Souza had a friend who was running for office to whom he donated $20k. So far, so good, but he then had a third party donate another $20k which was reimbursed by D’Souza. He was charged with a felony. His lawyer said that this sort of case is common and that nobody suffers a felony and that he would get it reduced for him. After some time, his lawyer told him that the court was not budging, he could not get the charge reduced, and that somebody must really want to get him. This took place after the D’Souza movie 2016: Obama’s America
which was critical of the president. He pleaded guilty to the felony and was sentenced to five years probation, eight months in a "community confinement center," eight hours a week of community service during the probation, and a thirty thousand dollar fine. It was sort of a “Lite” version of G.Gordon Liddy’s
sentence of 20 years in prison (commuted to eight years by President Carter) for a first offense breaking and entering where nothing was stolen—his punishment for not co-operating with Democrats after the Watergate fiasco.
After the courtroom scene, there was a humorous sequence showing his induction to the "community confinement center" and getting used to the company of hardened criminals. He began to learn about the criminal subculture which had been totally foreign to him. Through speaking with his fellow inmates, he distilled the four major aspects of the criminal enterprise: 1, Develop a plan; 2, Recruit; 3, Make the pitch; 4, If caught, always deny, never give up the con. He uses his newfound understanding of criminality as a framework for explaining the success and ultimate goal of the Democrat Party.
D’Souza dived back in history to the presidency of Andrew Jackson
, the Democrat president who drove Native Americans off their land onto reservations, then sold the land cheaply to buy votes. The Republicans fought against the plan, but the Democrats got it passed. He proceeds through history to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, big city political machines, Margaret Sanger,
and finally debunking the claim that Republicans under Nixon decided to appeal to Southern racists and that is why black people turned to the Democrats after the racists in the party became Republicans. It was given the term, “The Southern Strategy.”
Unlike his movie 2016: Obama’s America
, in which imitated Charles Kuralt
traveling all over the world interviewing everybody, D’Souza used dramatic re-enactments to provide the cinematic imagery reifying the historical facts. The imagery was quite powerful because it was almost exclusively of individuals and their actions, which probably accounts for the PG-13 rating. Little time was wasted on sweeping scenes of landscapes and such, though there was a brief interview at a diner with Jonah Goldberg
which was mildly interesting but seemed odd.
There was one particularly heart-wrenching scene in which a journalist named Ida B. Wells
attempted to intervene at a lynching. Wells, like Harriet Tubman before her, was a gun toting Republican black woman. She devoted herself to ending the practices of lynching and segregation, mostly through her work as a reporter for a Republican newspaper. She was treated in the movie as one of the great heroes of yesteryear, reappearing a number of times toward the end of the film. The history lesson was part one.
Part two was a biography of Hillary Clinton.
It began with her as a young woman and her association with Saul Alinsky
(much of the material on Alinsky was drawn from a television interview he gave shortly before his death in 1972, it was revealing). Hillary Clinton’s story covered most of her misdeeds from the Whitewater scandal, to her husband’s victims, to the theft of money collected for Haitian earthquake relief. Many of the clips of Clinton can be sorted into one or more of the aspects of criminal enterprise.
The movie ends with an extended patriotic fanfare complete with fireworks, Civil War re-enactments, a choir, an orchestra, and the Blue Angels,
that would touch the heart of all but the most jaded Americans.
This latest effort on the part of Dinesh D’Souza is a two part documentary that covers much of the dark side of American history. It is humorous at times, and occasionally hard to watch. Almost everyone will find one or two tidbits of information new to them. It flows well with pretty good production and acting for an indie film. However, if you are someone who would be greatly disturbed or offended by a bare knuckled criticism of Hillary Clinton and her party, you may want to give this one a pass.
Jonathan Hoffman is the
Weekly's resident libertarian columnist.