Our culture, not the Rittenhouse verdict, is the problem.
And, it isn’t going to change in my lifetime
This past Friday, the Jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial reached a reasonable verdict based on Wisconsin law.
Wisconsin — like many other states — has permissive laws governing the carry and use of firearms after years of gun lobby influence. People like Kyle Rittenhouse can legitimately go to a riot with a gun, pretend to be a regulator patrolling the streets, and use it if the tables turn against them.
Rittenhouse did not have to prove he acted in self defense. The state had to prove he did not. Presumption of innocence depends on this. That the bar for proving necessary force is low, however, is the result of decades of legislation by people we elected.
Many Americans are happy it is this way.
Liberal grief regarding this case has come in dozens of forms, as the Rittenhouse case covers nearly a dozen progressive bêtes noires. Rittenhouse is a white man living in rural America. He was carrying a gun at age 17. The gun was an assault-style rifle. He could have avoided the situation, but he wanted to be there with his gun. Kenosha, however violent, was — to many liberals — an expression of Black grief. Rittenhouse personified the framing of it as a Black crime spree necessitating a white militia to protect America. Conservatives applauded. He wasn’t shot by police. In fact, the police seemed to appreciate people like him being there. The police would have shot him if he were black. He would have gone to jail for life if he were black. The judge disallowed the use of the word victims and gave the defense a wide berth.
On and on.
The problem is, none of these grievances were on trial. Progressives wanted them to be. They’re tired of all of the abovementioned factors “winning” every time they appear up for debate. They wanted Rittenhouse to got to jail as a proxy for everything they find broken about white supremacy, the law, policing, gun culture, toxic masculinity — all of it.
I hate to be a killjoy, but this culture is unlikely to change in the next 20 years. There’s a great chance conservatives will take back the house in 2022 and the White House in 2024. The Supreme Court is lost for at least a generation. The Senate map will favor conservatives moving forward as liberals move into cities and to the coasts. Conservatives are routing Democrats in state and local races, too.
So — and I say this as a liberal — stop crying and find a way to adapt to our shitty culture for the next few decades. It’s all you can do. You look like King Canute yelling at the tides when you scream about the Rittenhouse verdict.
Find a strategy and fall in line behind people who can win instead of finger wagging about how politicians misgender people or didn’t use zie/zem pronouns or said racisms on Tik Tok when they were 14. We need to elect people who know how to keep the gun lobby from making things so goddamn easy, and who can make sausage. We need policy, not performances, and people with political knowledge, not populists.
And for Godsakes, hire a reputable advertising firm to come up with your messaging, progressives. You suck at it. You need white Wisconsin voters if you want to win.