As Joe Biden’s approval rating sinks below 50%, I shake my head at the impatience of so many Americans who suddenly perceive the President as weak and bumbling. It seems to me that those who voted for him against Trump (especially Independents and moderate Republicans) ought to chill a bit, be more patient, and give Biden and the Democrats time to complete their challenging work in passing the huge $3.5 trillion jobs and family bill that is likely to come down to about $2 trillion after the congressional sausage machine produces a compromise package. Should that bill be worked out by a unanimous Democratic Senate caucus and then brought to reconciliation, along with the trillion dollar infrastructure bill already passed by a bi-partisan Senate vote, it’s likely that Biden’s approval rating will improve. When that happens, so too will improve the standing of Democrats on the federal, state, and local levels.
According to Fortune Magazine (October 7), Biden’s 52% approval rating in the last week of July was nearly identical to his Day 1 approval rating, and well ahead of Trump’s 38.7% approval rating at the same time (Day 261 in office) in his Administration. Note that Biden’s disapproval rating of 44.2% doesn’t represent a majority of Americans. A significant portion of Americans (7%) neither approve nor disapprove of his job performance. For comparison, at the same point in his presidency, Trump had a 55.4% disapproval rating.
Most political pundits have expressed little doubt that the two major bills before Congress will pass in some form soon and arrive at the Resolute Desk for signature. After all, passing these bills into law is in the best interest and strong desire (according to all polls) of a large majority of Americans. Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer each is a skilled political operative, and I can’t imagine them failing to do what’s necessary to conclude negotiations successfully and get these bills passed into law.
As we approach the 2022 elections, these pundits argue, the Democrats must demonstrate that they are the only party that governs effectively in order to win control of both houses of Congress once again. Even then, with gerrymandering favoring Republicans and Trump-Republican voter suppression laws being passed in so many states, there’s no guarantee of Democratic control of Congress after 2022.
Patience, therefore, ought to be the order of the day, because patience emboldens us, calms us down, restores to us a measure of perspective, and helps us avoid becoming nervous wrecks. We would be wise to step back and avoid social media on this issue and not watch or read the 24/7 cable news cycle that addresses in granular detail all the ins and outs of the negotiations.
Here are some helpful thoughts about the nature and virtue of patience:
“Patience is also a form of action.” – Auguste Rodin, sculptor (1840-1917)
“How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?” -Paul Sweeney, Scottish politician (b. 1989)
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” -Hal Borland, author and journalist (1900-1978)
The Hebrew word for patience is sav’la-nut – the three-letter root (samekh, bet, lamed) of the word means “suffering.” Hence, being patient is to suffer a bit, which isn’t so awful if the end result is positive and life-affirming.