My good friend Mr. Bill, until recently long-time mayor of Rudy, musical cohort, magician, clown, entrepreneur extraordinaire, country philosophizer and proprietor of the Front Porch Theater entertainment venue on U.S. 71 in the old Deans Market complex, often waxes fatalistic about the political, social and personal frustrations that compass us ‘round and about in our everyday doings, interfering and hindering our reach for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When it’s all said and done sez Bill about the futility of the buzz; no matter our objection to it, "it is what it is."
Of the little "wisdoms" homilies and philosophies the lad customarily contributes to the perspective on the foibles of human labor, the expression "it is what it is" seems his signature tenet featuring a philosophy born of those callusing human experiences which seemingly exist only to try the patience of the sane and sober minded. "It is what it is" is a mild oath uttered as a sigh of resignation reflecting those annoying little quirks that defy reason and deny proper protocol in regard to otherwise ordinary and uncomplicated things at the end giving rise to fatalistic attitudes and acceptance of habits and eccentricities which at best are of dubious distinction but beyond our ability to change.
No, the idiom is not original, its progenitor not defined, only that the philosophy describes a human phenomenon that has been presented in various fashion by scribes and bona fides throughout the generations of mankind.
Stripping it all away, "It is what it is" is more suitable to the category of Biblical Proverbs seeing that it more clearly defines the futility of the "chase" in which humanity tends to engage itself. Vanity of vanities saith (observed) the preacher, all is vanity. Digging down to the square root, it means that we don’t always have the means or the will to alter the stream once a channel has been cut deeply into the earth, nor do we have the tools to alter or reconstruct whichever needs modification in order to establish the fluid motion of common sanity.
Wikipedia defines the expression "it is what it is" as an "idiomatic phrase indicating the immutable nature of an object that is commonly used in American culture as a response, or acceptance of something that makes little sense or has little or no validity." Another source defines it as a phrase that seems simply to state the obvious but actually means "it will be what it is" no matter what, as in "its not going to change, so deal with it." Still another "this circumstance is simply a fact and must be accepted; so be it, that’s life."
All this is fine and dandy holding true in a general sense, fate is what it is, circumstances are what they are and traits, whether negative or otherwise, are sealed into the system by timeless practice until it becomes natural to the process and won’t be changed come hell or high water.
And that, one ventures to say, is why the presidential bids of Sanders and Trump cause so much angst and agony within their respective parties. The political streams have long been rechanneled into an elitist association and no amount of dredging will change it anyway soon. We have our ways, our alliances, allegiances and protocols and "don’t want no galley men jibing the sail of the kings schooner." Contrary to our founding fathers idealistic design of a "government of the people by the people for the people" as set forth in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, we have been rechanneled into a government of the elite, by the elite for the elite, and have found the deviation of our founding values so radically changed that our culture can no longer be identified with the nations constitution.
Where once we became so suspicious of monarchial drift that we restricted our presidents to two terms in office, we have not been so wary of U.S. lawmakers who are allowed to hold office for a lifetime, a special few having achieved eternal tenure and more interested with servicing the financial interests of exclusive clientel than they are with "we the people" in keeping their job than representing the nation’s overall interest.
Bill Kristol of the magazine Weekly Standard, conservative icon with dozens of right wing associations and influences, exemplifies the far-right’s resistance to other than their own "poster child" representing the Republican Party. No thanks Donald, thanks a lot, no "outsider" disrupting the quid pro quo of our guarded and exclusive little society.
At least a Hillary victory in November would play to the status quo of being a dominating influence within the conservative ranks. Even in losing they remain power brokers, and that kind of status, nobility and influence within either of America’s two dominating political associations places one amongst the political elite; that kind of power does not go quietly into the night.
We can thank "Bubba" for casting doubt that "is" as a defined fact isn’t really "is." Leave it to a lawyer/politician (or in Kristol’s case a prominent political activist) to deice up a pickle that it appears a carrot.
Kristol, an outspoken adversary to Democrat ideology and a long-time critic of Obama and the Clintons, advocates a third party candidacy expressly to prevent a Trump presidency and to deny outside influence in Republican power circles. Yet, Kristol is no fool, knowing full well that a third party run by a conservative could not win the U.S. presidency and would assure Ms. Hillary victory come November and a liberal leaning Supreme Court forever.
And it’s here that the ideological integrity of Mr. Kristol comes into question and "is" becomes something other than what Kristol has always wanted us to believe is - is. The fact is, that we are informed by actions and deeds, rather than words. Kristol’s concern is not with winning an election or turning back the progressive policies of Democrats who continually chip away at America’s constitutional rights its culture and traditional values. Rather, the foremost concern of the die hard wing of the party is keeping the proverbial bull out of its own exclusive little China shop fearing that a Trump presidency would disrupt long established political associations wherein men hold power and prestige regardless of which party holds the reigns of government.
Whereas, you and I are more concerned about the overall culture, freedoms and traditions in which we live, the governing/political class live in a cocoon all their own, each party, win or lose, having staked out their own territory, are relatively comfortable and safe in their own fiefdom no matter who it is that pilots the Ship of State at any given moment in time. Anyone outside those associations is disruptive to the quid pro quo. Defined as "Something that is given to you, or done for you in return for something you have given to, or done for someone else."
Neither Bernie Sanders on the Democrat side nor Trump on the Republican side could ever have expected to be "welcomed to the party" and both political establishments have designed creative ways to shut out the "unwanted." The Democrats with their "super delegate" hole card have been successful, the Republican’s having failed but failing, for the most part have fell in line behind the candidacy of Trump. Notable exceptions are the aforementioned Kristol, the Bush family who have a more than cordial relationship with the Clintons and ironically Mitt Romney, whose own candidacy failed in part, because a significant number of evangelicals refused to vote for a Mormon.
Whereas, the Republican Party is fighting hard for both relevancy and credibility, they have no choice but to accept and support the legitimate victor of the Republican primary. But Kristol’s "is’" as in integrity to an ideological cause, has fallen far short of fact. His "is" (as in ideology and political philosophy) is not a fact set stone, rather a self-empowering status conscience and as long as he holds onto that piece of real estate he will never want for power, influence and prestige over there on the extreme right where good intentions go to die.
Finally, as an apology to both the narrative and to my friend Mr. Bill. I must admit the introduction to this little treatise, itself, may be seen as a misrepresentation of content. But we shall argue as Bubba argued, that sometime fact is not set in stone, or at least may not always be what we thought or imagined it to be, that in fact - the definition of "is" can be warped by perspective especially in the hands of a lawyer or politician or, perhaps some lowly scribe standing ‘way down on the lowest most rung.
Finally, we are a society of laws and for breaking those laws penalties are required according to the offence and its severity. Justice does not favor one group over another. In order for the people to have faith in public institutions those laws must be equally applied to everyone regardless of social status, race, creed or color. Justice is blind, the law is the law and that’s how it is. Or is it? It has become clear that just as those corporations that during the Great Recession the government considered too important to let fail, there are U.S. political institutions, persons and associations that have shielded themselves from the same scales of justice that commonly apply to the folks down here on the street.
Meanwhile, public cynicism and distrust grows intense as the disparity of justice between those who govern and the governed continue to be showcased on a daily basis. A "government of the people, by the people for the people." What a novel idea. And indeed that is what we might imagine our political system to be. As it now stands, a cynic might say, that ain’t what it is.