By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist
Like President Biden, I accept a verdict rendered by 12 citizens, because that’s how it works, and that’s that. Perhaps the instructions they were given by the obviously partial and borderline-nuts judge were a fair rendering of Wisconsin law on self-defense, which, as I understand it, is the stuff of NRA dreams. Poor kid was scared for his life, wept convincingly, so … .
The gloating, though. It burns through what ought to be, on this day, a pleasant post-tryptophan fog. It’s a reminder of what we’ve become, and where it leads. Well, not “we,” really. They.
“Rhymes-with-Tucker” Carlson already making a laudatory “documentary” about him, had a crew in the car that drove him from the courthouse. The Republican House’s most despicables (tough call) scrambling to be the first to offer him a job, fundraising off it. Madison Cawthorn, after the verdict, saying “Be armed, be dangerous, be moral.” (“Moral.” Nice touch.) Trump, Jr., wanting to gift the boy a real AR-15. Rightwing media, green-light orgasmic (Daily Kos: tinyurl.com/thehero4u).
Because, when you have only anger, not a single idea (in the case of the despicables, not a single piece of legislation) that might make life better for non-millionaire fellow Americans, sticking it to the libs and gloating about it is the best you can muster. Seeing them die? Even better.
Their hero may be legally not guilty, but he was, and is, no human innocent. Filled with the juvenile version of white resentment and delusions of grandeur; after announcing, before crossing state lines to “protect businesses” that didn’t need it, that he planned to become famous, he had his mommy (!) drive him to Kenosha. Carrying an illegally-obtained assault-style weapon, he placed himself amongst demonstrators, possibly responding to a rightwing call to “take up arms.” As people bravely tried to disarm him (fearing for the lives of others) after he’d already killed one, he was firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Squeezed off a few more rounds, killing one more and wounding another. Wish granted: a rightwing hero before the smoke cleared, nor the blood dried.
Did his trial-tested tears come from non-rehearsed remorse, or pre-trial coaching? After all, immediately following his “not guilty” plea he headed to a bar, where his underage drinking, paid for by the assembled crowd, was Wisconsin-legal because his mommy (!) accompanied him. There, he posed with Proud Boys, flashing the white-power hand-sign and wearing a T-shirt that said “Free as F***.” That’s who he is, whom Trumpists adore (Kenosha News: tinyurl.com/freeAF4u).
And it’s who they are, these self-described patriots. By definition, that ought to make every true patriot sick. Feeling ill at where they’re taking America is now what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans. We feel sick; they gloat. The sicker we, the gloatier they. Oh, but he isn’t a racist, he told Tucker. Loves him some BLM.
No matter the finer points of Wisconsin’s finest laws, imagine if the kid were black, had showed up, armed unlawfully, at a rally of white people; paraded through the crowd, then killed a few who tried to take his weapon. Even if he claimed he feared for his life, how likely is it he’d be exonerated?
There followed, of course, the predictable, counterproductive rioting from the usual crowd (whoever they really are) in Portland. Probably too soon after the verdict for Trumpism’s best to organize a lib-hunt. Next time, now that they’ve seen there being no consequences. If not Portland, somewhere. Count on it (NPR: tinyurl.com/openseason4u).
And count on the kid being all over rightwing media. Lionized at Trump rallies. Probably running for office someday. Winning. Look out, Gaetz, Cawthorn, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, Boebert, Gohmert, McCarthy, Cruz, Hawley, McConnell, Blackburn, Paul, Graham … . You have tough competition for the Deplorability Gold Medal. What a list. People offering nothing positive, voting against their constituents’ best interest at every opportunity. In a party that glorifies violence; rewards those who encourage or commit it. Make anime about it. And, always, receives praise from Trump.
Millions of them, gloating. Even as Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, whom they hate more than they care about their children’s future, are, unlike that thrombus of Congressional R’s, producing NON-SOCIALIST legislation that will make life better for them and America.
It’s more proof of the effectiveness of a constant deluge of disinformation on people made irreversibly ignorant by their calculatingly dishonest, deliberately inciting media sources. Hero-worshipping a smirking white-supremacist-would-be for killing libs, convinced the ones getting things done on their behalf are their enemy. Not in the most dystopian novel, ever, would such a premise be considered believable.
It’s that. All of it. And the gloating.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.