“2016 Obama’s America” vs “Becoming Barack”


By James Turnage-

I watched a documentary on Current TV last night. It was titled “Becoming Barack.” Current TV is Al Gore’s cable channel, so I knew it would show Mr. Obama in a favorable light. I figured I’d watch it, and if it became a trite political tribute I would flip to another network.

The film contains information about his childhood, his relationships with his mother and father, his search for understanding of what it meant to be black growing up in America, and his work as a community organizer in Chicago. It’s well done and very interesting. I didn’t change channels.

It is a true documentary. There are statements by many whom he worked with in Chicago, and also by his half-sister who told him the truth about his father. It is historical and factual, and, whether you like his policies or not, the film informs us about the character of our President.

There is another short film in theatres now titled “2016 Obama’s America.” It is badly misnamed. It is called a “documentary” but that is just not true. It is confusing for theatre goers because the first twenty minutes or so is merely the author talking about himself. The remainder is nothing more than conjecture. This film is actually a long, right-wing political advertisement.

A review of the film was done by blogger Jim Reeves. He wrote that the audience was 100% white. He even waited until everyone else left to see if he could spot one African-American, one Hispanic, or one Asian. Not one was to be found.

Documentaries are factual accounts based upon research and interviews with persons who have knowledge about the subject. This film contains none of that. The few interviewed who have actual knowledge of Mr. Obama had nothing negative to say. Those who did have negative things to say were offering opinions and “what ifs.”

The United States is a country that prides itself on many things. At the core of it all is free speech. The problem with allowing anyone to say anything is that too often the reader or listener has to sort out lies and truths. Unsavory people such as the Koch brothers are allowed to give false messages under the banner of “Americans for Prosperity.” This film fits into the same category. Those who already dislike Mr. Obama will believe it. Those who have open minds, and have read about the many good things he has done will make up their own minds.

There is a difference in this election, and it’s major. We have a choice not only to vote for the best man, but also for truth and morality. We can vote for someone who has actually worked for the middle class, or someone who employed them, becoming wealthy because of their efforts. We can vote for a man who has not changed his principles or a man who has flip-flopped on every issue possible, making us question where he truly stands on anything.

There are also major differences between the two parties. But one that doesn’t receive enough recognition is that Republicans support their candidates blindly, (for example; Palin). Democrats will criticize each other if they think they are wrong on the issues. Personally, I enjoy the latter. What made this country great was the ability to speak freely, to have open discussion on any issue. Free speech is only free if we refuse to be told what to think, and are not ostracized if we don’t follow the “party line.”