Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Richard Schiff: We're finally living in the realm of reality

I can't possibly know what kind of presidency this will turn out to be after just 100 days. It's like rating a book after the first paragraph. I don't know if the stimulus package will be effective. I don't know if the push into Afghanistan will work. I don't know if the withdrawal from Iraq will be permanent. But I do know that for the first time in eight years it feels like someone in the Oval office other than the cleaning woman is putting in a full day's work and is genuinely looking out for the welfare and wellbeing of the general public.

Opening the Dover air force base to the public and allowing pictures of caskets of soldiers killed overseas was more than a symbolic gesture. It was a signal that this presidency was going to open itself to the scrutiny of the people of the country and the world. That the era of deception and deceit is thankfully over. That disclosure of torture techniques may lead to accountability at last from the last administration, and is is a beacon of hope in and of itself.

I do not know about success and its likelihood. I do know that for the first time in a long while the possibility of progress towards real peace and prosperity for all of our citizens is within the realm of reality. I do know that the shame of the last era of our history just 100 days after its demise is disappearing, and in its place there is a pride in the possibilities that lie before us.

I had a conversation with a billionaire on a yacht off the coast of Sarasota in the Gulf of Mexico. He said: "I'm willing to wait and see how well this president does." I told him: "Then he will fail, because he needs you to take part and contribute and make sacrifices like the rest of us— then and only then do we have a chance." So how do I think he's doing? As well as the rest of us. And I'm ok with that.

Richard Schiff is a director and actor whose roles include Toby Ziegler in 'The West Wing'