When Idiocy and Envy Masquerading as Ideology are Driven to Extremes
Out of all the charges that US President Barack Obama’s detractors throw at him, none is as absurd as the ones that centre on claims that he is un-American.
As bogus and idiotic as those charges have come, the characters that invent, manufacture, and peddle them have been persistent and unrelenting.
In and by themselves, those charges have been shaped in all their forms and emanated from all sorts of people ‑ whites, people of Asian descent, men, women, young and old. The common lines that thread such people together is that they are all in the ideological camp that its adherents in the US designate as conservatism, and all of them are supporters of the Republican Party.
They have presented as the ‘birthers’, so called, who fabricated unbelievable tall tales to the absurd effect that Obama wasn’t born in the US, and is therefore, not a US citizen. They claim that he was born elsewhere that they have been unable to prove exists, and was clandestinely smuggled into the US alongside his manufactured birth certificate by similarly unnamed person(s) whose identity they have failed to provide.
According to the ‘birthers’, for a long time, Obama was groomed for the day he would be manoeuvred into the White House as US president to wreck every imaginable havoc on the country.
Although some of the ‘birthers’ have concocted a range of fabrications they claim are pieces of evidence that show that his original birth certificate doesn’t exist, they have been unable so far to substantiate their claims with the necessary proofs. The ‘birthers’ are often quick to proclaim that the voters who chose Obama over the Republican Party’s candidate, John McCain, in the 2008 presidential election were simply hoodwinked.
There are even some among his detractors who claim that he is a closet Islamist who was sprung onto the US by some insidious bogeymen, who they have also so far failed to concretely identify, to dispose the US for a Muslim takeover.
Then there is Dinesh D’Souza.
He was originally from India where he was born in Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra in 1961, which puts him in the same age as Obama. D’Souza was raised and lived in India until he came to the US in 1978 as a high school exchange student. He stayed back when his exchange stint ended, proceeding subsequently to Dartmouth College from where he graduated in 1983 with a degree in English.
Note that D’Souza earned a degree in English and not psychoanalysis.
He subsequently naturalised and became a US citizen.
The intriguing part: Here is a naturalised US citizen who believes he is more American than Obama, the US president who was elected unequivocally by a cross section of Americans in keeping with provisions of relevant stipulations in the US Constitution.
This is the Dinesh D’Souza who in 2010 spawned the most incredible Freudian-tinged pseudo-psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo in a book that he entitled, ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’ in which he claimed that Obama’s politics are driven by the anti-colonial worldview that he cultivated from his later father, Barack Obama, Sr.
On the surface, D’Souza’s claim might sound reasonable.
But when you recall that Obama the president hardly knew and spent time with his father during those impressionable years of his life when children are prone to such paternal influences, you’d begin to come to grips with the mischief and envy that propels D’Souza in his quest to badmouth Obama.
The evident truth is that it was as a 10-year-old lad that Obama first met his father ‑ for a duration that was reasonably insufficient to entail the sort of indoctrination capable of engendering the sort of raging anti-colonialist worldview that D’Souza, who studied English and not psychoanalysis, claimed in his book that he holds.
I am yet to read ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’. But everything that I have read about it, even by its author’s ideological soul mates, indicate that D’Souza’s book is plain reductionist diatribe from the figment of an envious imagination.
Fast forward to D’Souza’s next project, a documentary film on Obama based on ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’ that he accomplished with Gerald R Molen who also co-produced the Steven Speilberg-directed movie, ‘Schindler’s List’. According to a published report, his declared motive for doing the documentary is to “give viewers a better understanding of Obama”.
Again, D’Souza repairs solidly to his reductionist and amateurish psychoanalysis in pursuit of his continuing fixation on Obama who he claims, is unknown to both those that love and those that hate him.
Funded by Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish billionaire and an uncritical die-hard supporter of the state of Israel who makes his fortune from casinos, D’Souza’s documentary, which is entitled ‘2016: Obama's America’ has been reported to include, “considerable projection and speculation and selective borrowing from Obama’s own autobiography in seeking to prove D’Souza’s psychoanalysis of Obama”.
The core of D’Souza’s ‘finding’ in his ‘unravel this Obama film’ is that “Obama doesn’t hate America. He wants it to have less”. Obama’s belief, he claims, is that “America is part of the global one percent, and wants to share its wealth and power with ‘hungry, circling nations’”. He easily hid this agenda from Americans when he first ran for, won and went into the White House, he further claims. “Now, after four years, he can’t come across as an unknown man. He has actually camouflaged what he has done and claim the opposite.”
Again, D’Souza provides no logical evidence as proof.
Again, critics have lambasted him. The Manchester Guardian rightly points this out when it said, “Many critics have savaged the film”, and added, “An Associated Press fact-checking article found the film, a cinematic version of D’Souza’s 2010 book ‘The Roots of Obama’s Rage’, (sic) to be ‘almost entirely subjective and a logical stretch at best’.
The New Yorker magazine calls it, “A work of propaganda that offers base innuendo in lieu of argument”.
That the film has been made a major box office hit by obsessive Obama haters who have thronged the movie theatres to view it since it opened last month, says a lot about how shallow Americans who self-identify as conservatives are.
I wasn’t trained in psychoanalysis. Neither, have I watched D’Souza’s movie.
However, when I read somewhere that the movie opens with D’Souza’s appearance and him comparing himself with Obama, totting his arrival in America empty handed, attended a good school where he made well, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, as a well-heeled scholar, my analytical feelers were triggered.
I couldn’t but deduct that Dinesh D’Souza is filled with hateful envy against Barack Obama. Too bad, for the former, I say.
Dinesh D’Souza may be smart. He may have met considerable success in the US due mostly to his conservative credentials that won him preferences from well-heeled US conservatives and supporters of the Republican Party. The harsh truth is that, unlike Barack Hussein Obama, D’Souza will never be the president of the US. He is a naturalised US citizen. The last time I checked, the US Constitution still forbids all naturalised US citizens, no matter who, from running for and being elected president.
• EC Ejiogu, PhD, is a political sociologist and the author of ‘The Roots of Political Instability in Nigeria’ (Ashgate, 2011).