“It is what it is!” This was Donald Trump’s summary explanation for why over 150,000 Americans have died from the Covid-19 coronavirus in just the last five months.
Check with the online Slang Dictionary what that phrase is supposed to mean, and here’s what you’ll find:
“Deal with it. It is what it is is an expression used to characterize a frustrating or challenging situation that a person believes cannot be changed and must just be accepted.”
That sounds about right: “Cannot be changed and must just be accepted.”
That is our nation’s ostensible leader’s best take on the unprecedented ravaging by this killer virus, with deaths now far exceeding 1,000 per day in this country. In other countries the situation is far, far different, where strong but still very simple and doable measures were firmly and consistently applied to mitigate the virus’ spread. Wear the mask, keep six feet apart, don’t wander into crowds. Really, that’s about what’s needed.
Now, in the good old American tradition of self-enfranchisement, the blame needs to be passed to those over 4 million here who’ve been proven to be exposed for failing to do simple common sense things to knock out the virus in its tracks.
The problem is the president’s nihilistic attitude happens to be in sync with the way far too many of our countrymen and women also think these days.
They’ve been seduced into a social-psychological paradigm since shortly following the end of World War II where the elevation of science, invention and technology in our society was replaced not so much with fiction and fantasy as with the primacy of the perceived needs of the self.
People don’t like science, or scientific conclusions that may tell them what they should or shouldn’t do, insofar as it contradicts or infringes on what they, personally, want to do.
This notion began to take hold in America as a result of a deliberate control of the emerging post-World War II electronic media, TV and the movies but also radio and popular magazines by powerful elites who’ve always seen democracy as a nuisance. It was all done in the name of First Amendment Rights, the right of you, Mr. and Mrs. America, and oh, you too, little Tommy and Gracie, to do as whatever the pleasure nodes in your brain want you to.
Such pleasure seekers can be easily manipulated, especially as the puppet masters have held the edge by control of the media to lead their little subjects around by the nose, oinking for more hits of pleasure.
This hallowed tradition of the manipulation of the masses by the elites goes back eons to the days of the Roman “bread and circuses” modes of social control, and with the elites’ chosen philosophers of academia and social engineering like Frederick Neitzsche, whose thoughts were used to drive wedges against an emerging labor movement and extension of movements for equal rights.
Fascism was invented intellectually as a political force to be a battering ram against principled advocates for constructive social change, the remnants of the best minds of the Enlightenment that executed an American revolution whose victory was not secured, albeit even then only tentatively, until the South was defeated in the Civil War.
There is no doubt that Trump and his followers, who sadly are no small share of our population, are the 2020 version of the fascist movements of the last 150 years who gained their biggest toehold in the U.S. with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. That’s when the postmodern nihilism and “Greed is Good” social currents began running rampant in America, suppressing the positive FDR currents with counterrevolutionary “breads and circuses” aimed at quashing the emerging civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.
Gullible Americans were recruited into mind-numbing cults and the excesses of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” as their best leaders were assassinated in cold blood — John, Malcolm, Martin and Bobby over the course of just a half dozen years — and 56,000 barely-legal youth were killed in an unjust war in Vietnam.
Trump and selfish spreaders of this virus are children of this era, alike.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at email@example.com.