“It Is What It Is”

A friend just sent me a video titled “It is what it is.” Those words are used as the title of a song sung throughout the video. The words are set to the melody of the old Doris Day song, “Que sera, sera” (“Whatever will be, will be”).

“It is what it is” are the words of President Trump when asked about his reaction to the high death toll of the coronavirus pandemic. He had already proclaimed that he would not accept responsibility for pandemic and in fact has done nothing to combat it. As a result, while other nations have coped with the disease and brought down their death tolls, the U.S. has, as of this morning, suffered 5,713,776 infections and 177,834 deaths.

My understanding of the phrase, “It is what it is” is that it means “That’s how things are. There’s nothing you can do to change it.” That makes it the equivalent of the sentence GIs used during the Vietnam war, “There it is.” It’s the verbal way of throwing up your hands in despair.

But of course much could have been done to combat the pandemic. Had the federal government moved quickly to increase testing, require masks, insist on social distancing, and track the disease, by now the pandemic would be under control. Instead, new infection peaks are expected.

This is not a casual matter to me personally. As an older man with a history of lung cancer, I would likely die if I contracted the disease. To me, the refusal of Trump and his Republican backers to take action is a direct threat to my life.

So the video pinning guilt on Trump for his lack of action hit home. I hope it goes viral.

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