Kyle Rittenhouse and the ConInc Carousel
The Hero we didn't deserve and a life he didn't ask for.
I think I speak for us all when I acknowledge that the ConInc carousel of podcasts, news shows, and books is not only exhausting but extremely passé at this moment in politics. Every boomer dad had Bill O’Reilly’s Killing series; he may even have had a few old copies of Rush Limbaugh’s hardcovers in his personal library. At this point, hardly any Americans, let alone younger millennials and zoomers, read anymore. I thought I had seen the last of the bombastic conservative screeds and biographies, as ConInc’s cultural cachet hasn’t reached younger audiences who weren’t raised on Fox News.
That was until I saw Kyle Rittenhouse promote his new book, Acquitted, this past month. Copies are available in advance with the option to purchase one autographed by the author.
I have nothing bad to say about Mr. Rittenhouse. The man has been through hell and dragged through the mud. He was a lightning rod for some of the vilest hatred on the Internet during his televised trial. But much as with child actors from Hollywood, it can be an odd and uncanny thing to watch them grow up. He’s aged a bit, put on a couple pounds, tried growing out some scraggly facial hair. I went through the same in my early 20s, but I didn’t have an entire political machine backing me during those awkward years, plastering my face all over social media and the news.
All I can see is that terrified boy who found himself in the middle of a modestly sized Midwestern town that became a war zone. After the events that changed the course of his life forever, he will never again have the chance just to be Kyle Rittenhouse from Antioch, Illinois. He’s Kenosha Kyle forever, whether he likes it or not.
I will never accuse him of being a grifter, nor do I hold it against him for making media appearances, partnering with the National Association for Gun Rights, appearing with Tucker Carlson, or publishing a book. He most likely has a very strategically minded media team advising him on what to say, where to appear, and how to dress.
What sickens me is that none of this should ever have happened. Kyle should never have been another mascot for ConInc. He should never have been put on trial. He should never have been in Kenosha with his rifle. The City of Kenosha should never have fallen to such third-world disarray. It’s all because those whom we trusted to maintain law and order bowed to the whims of their masters and allowed the mob to destroy a city in our Heartland.
Kyle’s instincts were correct. He saw a city that was home to family and friends being leveled by those addicted to destruction, and he decided to take action. He didn’t come looking for violence or looking to kill; he just wanted everything to stop. Where the men of our country failed their communities across the U.S. in 2020, a boy with his rifle stood up to the chaos.
What Kyle could never have expected was to be the center of an all-out media blitz wherein the worst of the worst cheered on the possibility of his being raped in prison. He took out people attacking him as he defended American soil, and he was congratulated by having the book thrown at him.
When he was acquitted against all charges brought against him, I felt as though I were walking on air. One of our guys finally had a victory against a system that had tried to ruin one of the few young men left in this country with a sense of duty. Then, almost immediately afterward, he appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight. The music from the ConInc carousel started revving up yet again.
He’s the poster boy for gun rights. He has access to every conservative commentator in the book. He has met with the former President of the United States. There’s a list thicker than a phone book of young political actors and congressional staffers who would kill to have his connections. But everything comes with a cost.
Kyle’s cost is the chance for a normal life. The police who didn’t stop the rioting are to blame. The prosecutors who tried to take away his freedoms are to blame. The media who wanted to see a hangman’s trial are to blame. The mobs of violent criminals are to blame.
And ConInc itself is to blame. As long as there is money to be made, the carousel will always spin. Kyle will get older, the memory of what he did will fade, and the carousel will have a new rider.
God bless you, Kyle. You stood for something greater than yourself and were rewarded accordingly by the powers that be. I wish you the best and hope that one day you can just be Kyle from Antioch, Illinois.