"Dreams from My Real Father" Offers Counter Autobiography to Obama's Account
DVD Review: Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception
by R.J. Carter
Published: June 8, 2012
By now, anybody who has the slightest brush with politics is aware of the so-called 'birther movement,' a loose conspiratorial consortium centered around the belief that President Barack Obama is ineligible for office because, as they claim, he is not a natural born citizen but rather was born in Kenya. As conspiracies go, the "clues" continue to trickle in, even when the official birth certificate was eventually released (if it is the "official" birth certificate, of course).
According to filmmaker Joel Gilbert (see our interview here), birthers are on a fool's errand. He's confident that Obama was born in Hawaii -- just not to Barack Obama from Kenya.
In "Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception," Gilbert lays the groundwork for the theory that the President's real father was Frank Marshall Davis: a member of Communist Party USA who was a communist organizer in Chicago and Hawaii. At first blush, this may elicit either a "So what?" response at best, a "What a smear job!" response at worst. However, Gilbert is completely serious, and his investigation into the theory isn't without some degree of plausibility.
Presented as an autobiography narrated by a voice actor portraying Barack Obama, the viewer watches as Gilbert lays out a brief history of Frank Marshall Davis' activities in Chicago and Hawaii before moving on to the claim that Stanley Dunham, Obama's maternal grandfather, was actually former Air Force Intelligence -- and a CIA operative -- who worked a deal with the Kenyan Barack Obama to engage in a sham wedding with an already pregnant Ann Dunham so that he wouldn't lose his security clearance for having someone like Marshall as a son-in-law.
Gilbert doesn't make this claim speciously or without evidence. The documentary provides many photographs -- comparisons of Barack Obama to Frank Marshall Davis, contrasted to comparisons with the elder Barack Obama; photos of Frank Marshall Davis' at home; and photos of a woman who appears to be Ann Dunham posing nude in that same home, photos ostensibly taken by Frank Marshall Davis and sold to a catalog catering to pornography.
Genetic origins aside, Gilbert makes a separate case that Davis is also Obama's ideological father, presenting testimony and evidence that the two saw each other frequently during the President's formative years. This leads into a string of encounters with other notable figures, many of which have been mentioned before in the last election: Bill Ayers, Thomas Ayers, Bernardine Dorn, Saul Alinsky, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and the Weather Underground. However, Gilbert stitches all these encounters into a cohesive, even plausible, chain of events as he follows the future President's educational path (stating he was a C student advancing through affirmative action) and career (community organizing and agitating in Chicago's south side). Gilbert even draws some intriguing comparisons between the well-known Obama "O" logo to a combination of rainbow logos of Weather Underground newsletter logos, and provides a symbolic reason for choosing Osawatamie, Kansas to begin his reelection campaign.
While the narrative makes the occassional dip into melodrama, the information and the way its presented makes for compelling viewing. Political junkies both left and right will want to see this, each for their own competing reasons. If even some of the allegations in this documentary are true, conflicting as they do with the President's autobiography, Dreams from My Father (itself having already had a number of passages debunked), then somebody's got some heavy explaining to do.