America: 2/3 good

I had to leave town to see the Dinesh D’Souza movie, “America: Imagine the World Without Her.”

The documentary, from a conservative, was playing on not one Philadelphia screen.

No one says it has to, even though Michael Moore gets aired in Philadelphia. Understandable, as Philly is one of the most blue cities in the nation, meaning most Democratic. Also among the poorest and ill-educated.

OK, so I head to the AMC Cherry Hill gigaplex with a Republican pal.

The latest of the three daily showings is at 5:40 p.m.

5:40 p.m.? Does the theater think anyone interested is already retired?

I call the theater and I’m told it doesn’t make those decisions, they are made at the home office in Kansas City. That was closed when I called.

Not important.

It was nice having the small theater Monday night completely to ourselves. (Later that night “Edge of Tomorrow” would move in.)

My Republican pal has been in the dumps lately and I thought something pro-America would cheer her up. D’Souza’s movie was released around the July 4th  holiday.

The major problem with the movie is that it doesn’t explore “the world without her” we are invited to imagine in the title. Not at all.

The before-the-title sequence shows George Washington being killed in battle and the Colonials losing the war.

Hey, wait a minute. That sounds like a blog I did on July 4th.

I asked how losing would change America:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/stuniversity/265826626.html

D’Souza dropped the ball. He didn’t deliver on the title.

His movie is divided into three parts: The first laying out an indictment against America, the second history that answers the indictment and the final part — uh, oh — so brazenly political (bashing President Obama and Democrats) it even turned off my Republican gal pal.

The indictment says “we” first stole the land from the Native Americans and we killed them, we stole much of the West from Mexico, we stole labor from slaves, we stole resources from the world and capitalism stole everything from workers.

It is a very bitter, Howard Zinn view of history.  The late Zinn’s most important work was the “People’s History of the United States,” which provided many of the charges against the U.S.

D’Souza was born in India, came here and was naturalized, was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth where he was no doubt in a political minority.

From the left he has interviews with everyone from Michael Eric Dyson to Noam Chomsky. 

The center portion explains the conventional history of the United States. The best he can do with the Indians is the “genocide” was by disease brought by white people, as earlier hundreds of millions of European whites were killed by disease from Asia.  And, OK, they now have casinos.

Mexico? We beat them fair and square, occupied the entire nation, then gave them half back. Slaves? There were 3,500 black slaveholders.

Not excusing the above, but putting into a broader perspective than Zinn.

He cites much of the positive things said by Alexis de Tocqueville, but are quite old. Are they still true, things like American enterprise and innovation? I think they are, maybe you don’t.

As for capitalism, he says the rich built their fortunes, didn’t steal them and says that system is better than conquest, which was the “old way.”

D’Souza directed and wrote and produced and narrated and appears on screen. (Dinesh, avoid profile shots. They are not flattering.)

For two-thirds of the way through, it’s an engaging movie, making you feel maybe just a little better about America.

Then he poisoned the well with the politics.

My advice: Leave after the first hour.