I am supporter of President Obama, and I voted for him with the cautious hope that perhaps we could bring some sanity back into the White House. For the most part, I think that that has happened. I strongly disagree with this administration on it decision not to go after those in the last administration who authorized torture, on the hapless strategies and casual indifference to gay rights issues, for hiring Geithner and Summers when we needed real visionaries to tackle our spectacularly failing economy (the Warren appointment is a singular step in the right direction), for not looking to the creation of a contemporary WPA or CCC in order to tackle unemployment, and for not recognizing soon enough that the GOP gave only a fuck about stopping anything this administration wanted to do. And with all of those disagreements, I am not disappointed in casting my vote for Obama. I felt that it was the prudent thing to do. He was the adult in that race in '08.
I certainly have expressed on this blog my anger at my fellow Americans who have acted like Obama's ascension was akin to the rise of some of the worst true villains in 20th century history, and I am sure that there are some who feel that Obama is a greater threat to the nation that Islamic terrorists. That is just fucking crazy. Yes, I disagreed with President Bush on virtually everything, but I still respected the man as my President (I still jokingly refer to Cheney as Voldemort, but Voldemort is a fictional character). I did not feel that I'd actually lost my country, though I did feel that we'd lost our way. And I pride myself on having honest to goodness friends and acquaintances who fervently disagree with me politically and philosophically, because it keeps me grounded, and prevents me from ever falling into an echo chamber.
It seems to me that the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally on Saturday was one that respects that sensibility. As Stewart said, "we can have animus without being enemies." I definitely think tea party Republicans and the Fox News operation are terribly misguided, but I don't hate them, and I don't dismiss their legitimate fears regarding how our country will sustain itself as the planet's greatest country. I am not sure that the other side can always say the same thing.
I think that Andrew Sullivan hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the rally participants (and viewers): we're pragmatists, and believe that President Obama is indeed the only adult in Washington ready and willing to roll up his sleeves and try to address our many crises earnestly.
We need to work together and solve this country's problems as best we can, and we need legitimate ideas from the right. It would be silly to pretend that there aren't good conservative ideas out there, and conservatives need to be reminded that there are good liberal ideas out there as well (something that they seem comfortable in arguing right now). If we don't take these things seriously, then the country as a whole will fall. Isn't that frightening enough to get the GOP members of Congress actually to do their jobs? My guess right now is probably not. They have convinced themselves that only they have the solutions, and that the only compromises have to come from the President and the Democrats. That simply does not work. It wouldn't work if the Democrats did it, and it won't work for the country.
We need sanity in our politics to return. President Obama has been taking steps to restore it, and he cannot do it alone.