Saturday, October 17, 2020


Ellie and I watched The Way I see It last evening. This is the documentary about the photographer Peter Souza who documented the presidencies of both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Having worked as a

photojournalist for so many years, dedicated to the work rather than the politics, which he eschewed, he felt obliged to "come out" during the Tr*mp era and expose the pettiness and venality of our current president. I was not aware of his efforts until now, but it seems he has been doing this for some time by the simple act of visual juxtaposition. His book, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents and his continuing Twitter series, with images of a dignified and thoughtful Obama posted in response to his successor's often vacuous tweets are an act of social conscience. He abandons journalistic objectivity in favor of the passionate expression of opinion.

It's a great documentary. Directed by Dawn Porter, it includes lengthy interviews with Souza himself, as well as with notables from around the Obama administration. There is a good deal of historical film and video footage, and an unforgettable selection of the still photographs for which Souza is justly acclaimed. Ellie and I, along with I'm sure every other viewer, were deeply moved to be reminded of Obama's human dignity, his intellect, his need to think through every issue in depth, his love not only for his own delightful family but for the great family of humankind and, above all, his compassion. 

The comparison between Obama and his successor offered by this engrossing documentary is stark, and deeply painful. The film reminds us of what a president can, and should be; and of the utter failure of the current occupant of the White House to reach that standard. Watching it, I frankly wept at times. But mostly I was inspired by the example of the truly great man who led us for eight years, and mindful that his trusted right hand in office, Joe Biden, shares many of his qualities. He must be our next president.

1 comment:

Marie Smith said...

I recorded that program and watched it today. It is a great documentary and shows a truly great man compared to the one in charge today. I can understand why the photographer felt he had to speak up!