Like so much else in modern America, Friday’s acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse both revealed and widened the split between the country’s hostile political factions, with conservatives calling it a victory for the right to defend yourself and liberals condemning it as a miscarriage of justice.
Mainstream and far-right Republicans alike celebrated the not guilty verdict for Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old who last year shot and killed two men and wounded another during protests over the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson said that “justice has been served.” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said on Twitter that “the Rittenhouse verdict reminds us we have the moral & legal right to self-defense.” And former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the verdict “renews our faith in the jury system.”
On the far right, many saw the verdict as vindication and encouragement. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina told supporters in a video that “you have a right to defend yourself” and advised them to “be armed, be dangerous and be moral.” And on social media, one popular meme