Koan: a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon
ultimate dependence on reason and force them to gain sudden intuitive enlightenment.
Had someone asked me a year ago what leadership characteristics Donald Trump and Joe Biden would share as president, I would have been at a complete loss to think of even one—other than old, like me.
Perhaps not as pure an example of a koan as the sound of one hand clapping, the Trump/Biden question has assisted me to abandon dependence on reason and gain at least something like sudden enlightenment. I’m unsure whether the greater truth(s) I’ve discovered is about the two men, the office of president, or myself. I expect it’s a jumble of all three.
No matter your measure, these have not been good weeks for President Biden. The most recent opinion polls[i] peg his approval slipping to around 43 percent with a disapproval rating of 51 percent. It is the first time that his unfavorable rating has ended on top.
We must not squander our Congressional Democratic Majorities and jeopardize
the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create historic change….
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives
The closing 100 days of 2021 will be looked back on as among the most critical in the environmental history of the United States—rivaled only by those in the 1970s when the cornerstones of today’s environmental protections were laid.[i]
Whether today’s policymakers will be deserving of applause or derision depends upon the outcomes in four highly partisan battles now taking place over the: $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; $3.5 trillion budget resolution and the associated package of spending programs termed budget reconciliation; and raising the debt limit on the nation’s credit card.
Even before President Biden’s missteps in Afghanistan, the passage of his sweeping plan to confront climate change head-on was in doubt. Images of Afghanis desperately chasing airplanes down the tarmac in an attempt to flee Taliban rule are emboldening Republican politicians to oppose all parts of the Democrats’ domestic agenda in anticipation of their retaking one or both chambers of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.