What defines our nation and makes America great? Do the people who helped shape American history deserve to be considered heroes, or monsters? These are the questions that have come to define American culture, our view of ourselves as both a people and as a nation, and America’s response to the world.
Dinesh D’Souza, the creator of 2016: Obama’s America, and Gerald Molen, the Academy Award-winning producer of Schindler’s List, offer an invitation to history that cannot be refused. In America, they bring us face-to-face with the heroes who suffered, bled, and sacrificed their lives in order to build a great nation: Christopher Columbus crossing an ocean to discover the New World, George Washington fighting as British bullets whiz by his head, Frederick Douglass demanding that America live up to the promises of her Founding Fathers, and Abraham Lincoln sacrificing thousands of lives, and losing his own, to right a great wrong of history.
The roster of historical heroes is impressive, and necessarily controversial: each of these juggernauts have been deliberately and callously dismissed over time by forces seeking to diminish and redefine their place in history. Columbus? Genocidal monster. Washington? Slave-owning white man. Douglass? Self-hating, race-betraying Uncle Tom. History shows that each of these men, caught at the crossroads of hope or disaster, helped form a nation and became heroes for all time. But progressives and their ilk have long understood that by changing what they represent, and by altering their significance, you change what the result of their efforts–their nation–means.
The film’s website offers the most succinct and direct synopsis of D’Souza’s newest theatrical opus:
Someone once observed: “America is great because she is good; if she ever ceases to be good she will cease to be great.” Today that notion of the essential goodness of America is under attack, replaced by another story in which theft and plunder are seen as the defining features of American history – from the theft of Native American and Mexican lands and the exploitation of African labor to a contemporary foreign policy said to be based on stealing oil and a capitalist system that robs people of their “fair share.”
Secularists, liberals, and historical revisionists have long understood the power of words, history and perception. They learned early on that what made America so great was its understanding of itself as an exceptional nation, led by exceptional people, unlike any other the world had ever known. But the things that had contributed to American greatness; free market capitalism, liberty, self-reliance, and rule of law all ran contrary to the ideals of collectivists and progressives. In order to achieve their agenda, it became necessary to diminish or redefine those events and persons that confound their preferred narrative, one in which America is no greater than any other nation. These are the modern “99 Percenters”, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Hope & Change crowd that helped secure two Presidential victories for Obama. D’Souza explores the fevered imaginations of these misguided souls to attempt to ferret out their methods and motives.
His efforts achieve the desired effect: America demolishes the worn out progressive list of grievances progressives have compiled over time in their efforts to subvert the nation to an ideology of self-hatred and division. Interviewing notable leftists and progressives, D’Souza attempts to discern and understand their raison d’être, finding little but deception, greed and hatred. Along the way, D’Souza discusses the meaning of the Texas Revolution with Senator Ted Cruz and Hispanics in America with Republican activist Artemio Muniz, and contrasts the history of Black poverty with African-American entrepreneurship that actually created wealth.
D’Souza sounds the alarm against those who would “first have to unmake America” by redefining and transforming it. Using President Obama’s own words against him–“You didn’t build that,” “If you like your doctor, you can keep him,” and “most transparent administration in history” are just a few examples–D’Souza lays bare the nihilistic ideology of the Left. Progressives not only use falsehood and deception to win arguments and elections, but perpetually blame America for various “sins,” insisting it is unworthy to occupy the position of esteem and power it has attained through its actions around the world.
When confronted with actual history, progressive indictments against America fall apart, and they fall silent when presented with the possibility of a world without America. In the last century alone, with actions in WWI and WWII, America saved the civilized world. In spite of her detractors, who focus on the few failings of America, and who insist that the nation is a bigoted, discriminatory place with sins that could never possibly be forgiven, around the globe, when crises of hunger, war and natural disaster arise, it is to America that the world’s eyes quickly turn. D’Souza reminds us all that this fact is with good reason: because despite all its flaws, America is good, has done good, and will continue to do good, as long as we remember and uphold those qualities that made her so.
America opens nationwide in theaters on Tuesday, July 2, 2014