I remember that phrase specifically, though it's common enough with defeatists.
Years ago, I was having a discussion about Freedom with someone showbiz related. I'd known this person for quite a while. Most of our previous conversations were relegated to showbiz, actors, movies etc. This was different.
I mentioned the encroaching tyranny suffered after 911. Without reiterating all that, she cut the conversation short by saying 'there's nothing we can do' so why bother getting upset.
I had an impression she might be Freedom minded before, thus our chat. Apparently she was as statist as Star Trek let's say. You know, the Federation as a socialist state heading to fascist alliance. No, I'm not going to discuss all that here. Figure it out for yourselves -s-. And btw, I'm a ST fan but I never hold back my critique.
That impression of the lady was naïve. Since then, I check out people even more closely. Paranoid, nosy? Nah. Just don't want to waste my time on people such as the one above who impress with 'my mind is made up so don't confuse me with the facts'.
Speaking of Trek, I'd say her attitude was pretty much 'resistance is futile' vis a vis the Borg.
Nothing we can do harks back to that German prof I've mentioned who was a translator at Nuremberg. She talked of East and West Germany. Some people sought Freedom and some preferred to be told what to do. It's easier to be controlled once you give up.
So get lost in science fiction and ignore reality. Or perhaps you might see a message in the ravioli such as Babylon 5 about fighting on all levels for Freedom.
SOMETHING we can do is resist. Learn the enemies' ways and fight.
As for the nothing we can do crowd, well, they reap what they sew.