Despite a dismissive attitude by liberal politicians towards filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza and his latest movie, "America: Imagine a World Without Her," a Florida state senator plans to introduce a bill that would make the docudrama required viewing for most teenagers in the state.
Republican Alan Hays said he'll introduce his one-page bill later this year. The bill states that students in the 1,700 Florida public high schools and middle schools are to be shown the film unless their parents object, according to The Hollywood Reporter and other media.
"I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, 'Wow, our students need to see this.' And it's my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they're asked to vote on the bill," Hays said.
THR's Paul Bond writes that "the plan is sure to draw fire from liberals not only because D'Souza is a prominent conservative but because he is also behind the movie, 2016: Obama's America, which is a profoundly negative take on Democratic U.S. president Barack Obama."
Bond adds that America, the movie, offers a conservative point of view toward telling history. "D'Souza takes on leftist arguments that portray the U.S. in a negative light, and he specifically attacks Howard Zinn, author of the book A People's History of the United States, often considered the most widely used history book in U.S. academia," he writes.
Hays apparently feels that making "America" required viewing would introduce more balance into Florida schools.
"I've looked at history books and talked to history teachers and the message the students are getting is very different from what is in the movie," Hays said. "It's dishonest and insulting. The students need to see the truth without political favoritism."
When asked about his reaction to Hays' plan to introduce the bill, D'Souza told The Christian Post: "I hope that Florida students will carefully weigh the information in this one film against the constant bombardment they receive from the other side, the side that seems to always blame America first any time facts are in dispute. "
Hays said he would support teachers pairing "America" with a liberal film to show the political differences, according to THR. "Indeed, many schools already show Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and some of Michael Moore's left-leaning films, though it's certainly more unusual to actually require the viewing of a particular movie, as Hays intends with his bill," Bond wrote.
D'Souza's movie might have one advantage to appealing to a wider audience than films strictly with a conservative viewpoint. As some would agree, and as he puts it: "Our story is unique because we give plenty of time to America's critics, some say too much. And then we answer them."
Most likely, Hays couldn't agree more. "The most dreaded disease in America today is political correctness," he said. "We need to inform our students of our whole history, and teach them how to think, not what to think. Let them talk with their teachers, their peers and their parents, then draw their own conclusions. But they need both sides, and this movie shows a side they just aren't seeing."
Charitable groups would be asked to supply schools with copies of the movie so as not to burden Florida taxpayers, Hays proposed.
"Those who oppose the plan are also likely to point out that D'Souza could be headed to prison after he pleaded guilty to illegally promising to reimburse some people who donated to a friend's Senate campaign," writes Bond. D'Souza will be sentenced in September and faces up to two years in prison.
It remains to be seen as to whether the bill could pass, but Bond points out that Republicans hold a substantial majority in Florida's Senate and House of Representatives, and Gov. Rick Scott is also a Republican.