The President of the United States is being pilloried for using the phrase ‘it is what it is’ in reference to the number of dead from Covid-19 in the United States. It was a short comment, and taken out of context for the express purpose of painting a sitting President as someone who does not care for the country. Even if you paint your own beliefs about the President on his every statement, he is not wrong. And that is why the statement stings so much.
‘It is what it is’ is an idiom that means what has happened has happened, the situation exists, and that’s it. It is a neutral phrase, often used to say that we must accept it, because we have no other choice. When it comes to the present, this is always true. It is an acknowledgment of reality. Whining that things are not as they should be, but instead are as they are, is childish at best, and perhaps delusional. Does anyone think that if the President (or anyone) refused to accept that these people are dead that they would spring back to life? Of course not. The list of people that can do that is exceedingly short, even for people who have various religious faiths.
The big problem with ‘it is what it is’ is that it does acknowledge reality. The people who are upset do not like reality as it is. Well guess what, I don’t either. I wish that we didn’t have a formerly pandemic grade virus killing people in the US. I wish that nine unarmed black men weren’t killed by police in 2019. I wish over 600,000 people hadn’t died from heart disease last year either. But it is what it is.
Understanding that ‘it is what it is’ is the beginning of meaningful change, not a mean spirited ‘up yours’ to the people of the United States. We must acknowledge things as they are before we can begin to change them. The only reason to act as if it is a giant middle finger is to denigrate the President and influence the incoming election. This President has said enough, done enough, that the peole you are trying to incite are already incited. Stick to reality. There is still more than enough ammo to keep you busy.