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Dinesh D’Souza Takes Birmingham-Southern College by Storm

04/11/2016

When asked by a Birmingham-Southern College student if he thought that the predictions he made in his 2012 documentary “2016: Obama’s America” were accurate, considering the current price of gasoline, the current unemployment rate, and a host of other factors, Dinesh gave an interesting response. Dinesh responded to this question by arguing, “”The purpose of dialogue is to present facts that are believable to the other side.” What D’Souza was saying was that if the students that were “protesting” his presence here wanted to engage in a dialogue, then they needed to give him facts when they are asking him questions that both sides could agree to be true. Since Dinesh did not agree with many of the facts that the Birmingham-Southern College student presented him with, this is why he made the remark that he made.

On Thursday, April 7th, 2016, Dinesh D’Souza delivered 2016 William M. Acker Jr. Visiting Scholar Lecture in the Bruno Great Hall of the Norton Campus Center titled “What’s so Great About America?” at Birmingham-Southern College. Dinesh is an author, filmmaker, and a former policy analyst for President Ronald Reagan. Born in Mumbai, India, he came to the United States as an exchange student and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1983. He rose to prominence after the publication of his first book, Illiberal Education, which tackled political correctness on American campuses. D’Souza also directs documentary films; his movies include “2016: Obama’s America” and “America: Imagine the World Without Her.” Dinesh also has another documentary film coming out later this year about what it would be like if Hilary Clinton was elected by our citizens to become the next President of the United States of America. He also served as president of The King’s College in New York City from 2010-12.

D’Souza spoke about a number of different topics during his lecture at Birmingham-Southern College. One of the topics he discussed was what it was like to be an immigrant in the United States of America. He told the audience about how he came to the United States at age 17. During this section of his lecture, one of the remarks he made was how President Barrack Obama thinks that there is nothing truly special about our wonderful country. Another fascinating remark that Dinesh made during this part of his lecture was when he was discussing his process of becoming assimilated to the American way of life. D’Souza stated that it would not matter how much time we spent in India, we could never truly become Indian. The point that he was raising was captivating. He didn’t mean that we couldn’t become Indian in the sense of learning the culture or all of the different languages. Dinesh meant that we could not become Indian in the physical sense because to be Indian in this way, you needed to have all of the physical characteristics that a typical Indian person has. D’Souza goes on to state that, “becoming an American is about embracing an American way of life.” What he is saying is that it is easier to become a true American as compared to becoming a true Indian because in order to become an American you do not need to look or act a certain way. However, in order to become a true Indian, you do need to look and act in a certain way.

The next part of the lecture focused on the reason as to why this talk was titled “What’s so Great About America?” The audience found out that D’Souza loves the United States of America because, “your destiny is controlled by yourself.” Dinesh was in favor of the American value of having a “self-directed life.” This was radically different from in India where D’Souza’s marriage would have been arranged and he would not have had nearly as much control on the outcome of his life as what he was privileged to have by living in the United States of America. This is why he made the comment about how sometimes citizens of the United States tend to take for granted that they can control their own destinies in their lives.

The last part of his lecture discussed what actually went on with his arrest and criminal conviction. He broke the law for giving too much money under the Campaign Finance Laws in the United States. Dinesh told us that what happened was that one of his friends was running for the Senate in New York and he made a contribution of $20,000. This contribution was legal. It was his next contribution that was illegal. He told one of his friends that he would pay them back if he would write their friend that was running for the Senate in New York a check for $10,000. This was illegal. D’Souza thought that President Barrack Obama was selectively deploying justice because he was prosecuted for these crimes not long after his documentary “2016: Obama’s America” came out.

Overall, I really enjoyed the portion of the lecture where he spoke. I thought that Dinesh did an excellent job of articulating his ideas that he wanted to speak on during his talk. I want to commend him on being the bigger person and not directly addressing the protestors during his talk. I thought he did a great job of sticking to the facts and not letting all of the pomp and circumstances surrounding his lecture distract him from doing what he came to Birmingham-Southern College to do.

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