The #Rittenhouse verdict does not come as a surprise - but in conjunction with the reactions on the Right, it reveals a lot about this country and our current political moment, and none of it bodes well for the future of democracy.

My main takeaway - a thread:
A country defined by a political and social culture - characterized by white nationalism, gun fundamentalism, toxic masculinity, and glorified militancy - that is bound to produce many iterations of Kyle Rittenhouse…
A country in which the Right quickly unifies behind not only defending, but glorifying Rittenhouse’s actions…
A country in which much of the Center is conditioned to employ a maximally generous framing of extremist violence, and view Rittenhouse’s actions in the most sympathetic view possible - a young patriot who thought he was answering the call of duty…
A country with a legal system built on / reflecting that political and social culture, in which someone like Rittenhouse has a good chance to meet a judge who treats him with utmost sympathy, to put it mildly - a system that ultimately and predictably acquits him…
A country in which far-right extremists outside Congress are celebrating the verdict, openly declaring it a “precedent” for how to deal with protesters, salivating at the prospect of emulating Rittenhouse’s actions - meaning: committing acts of political violence…
A country in which far-right extremists inside Congress are dreaming about welcoming Rittenhouse as one of their own, jostling for the opportunity to promote and encourage his rise to political stardom…
That’s not a country in which democracy is sustainable, let alone one that might finally realize the promise of becoming a truly functioning multiracial, pluralistic democracy. It’s a country in which all (small-d) democrats should be really, really worried about what comes next.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Thomas Zimmer

Thomas Zimmer Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @tzimmer_history

18 Nov
Just got my Covid booster.

Great experience at the local CVS: Wonderful staff, nice conversation with others who were relieved to receive their booster.

Fighting against the pandemic could have been a great effort of communal solidarity. Shame on those who keep sabotaging it.
Getting the vaccine feels great. Not just because it protects me - but because acting in solidarity with the community, helping to keep others safe in a very concrete and direct way is wonderful. It puts me in an almost festive mood: I’m doing my part, we’re doing this together!
Considering that conservatives talk about communal values and the Common Good all the time, claiming to be the bulwark against a liberal cult of selfish individuality, it is doubly shameful that they simply cannot bring themselves to embrace this as a patriotic effort.
Read 6 tweets
15 Nov
Let’s be very clear what this is: Far-right propaganda, entirely indistinguishable from what you’ll read on white supremacist blogs and on rightwing extremist websites. That it was published by the @washingtonpost is outrageous - but, unfortunately, not an accident.
There is absolutely no journalistic justification for publishing what @lionel_trolling rightfully calls “illiterate nonsense.” It’s becoming very hard not to conclude that a significant portion of the mainstream media is deliberately pushing the reactionary counter-mobilization.
If you’re wondering whether @lionel_trolling’s verdict was too harsh: “Illiterate nonsense” is the most generous reading for the reactionary toxic waste the WaPo decided to present to its audience as serious analysis, “right wing big brain word salad,” as @SethCotlar calls it.
Read 10 tweets
13 Nov
Whether you want to call this white nationalist extremism, or a specifically American, twenty-first century version of fascism - the answer is to raise the alarm. Don’t get bogged down in a debate over semantics and concepts.

Pay attention. Because this is what’s coming.
I maintain that we should be judicious in our use of the term “fascism” - not because what’s happening isn’t bad / dangerous enough to merit the label (it absolutely is!), but because it sometimes comes with the implication that Trumpism is an aberration in U.S. history.
In the thread below, I outlined the reasons why I think we need to be careful not to let the term fascism distract us from the fact that Trumpism is deeply rooted in longstanding American traditions and continuities of racism and white Christian nationalism.
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
This captures the narrative that is animating the moderate / liberal turn against “wokeism,” but doesn’t hold up empirically: It is based on an implausible analysis of the political situation and a misleading perspective on racial conflict in American history. Some thoughts: 1/
Let’s start with the category error that is shared by lots of moderates and liberals: The assumption is that all the *talk about racism* is what irks many White people – when it’s actually the attempt to *dismantle racist structures and narratives* to which they object. 2/
The difference matters greatly: If it were just the supposedly incessant *talk* about racism, we could plausibly devise a strategy of appeasing White / reactionary sensibilities by *not talking* about it while still pursuing the project of realizing multiracial democracy. 3/
Read 19 tweets
8 Nov
From the reactions we’ve witnessed since the VA election, it’s clear that there are a lot of White folks out there who consider themselves Democrats/Liberals and are all too willing to go along with scapegoating and demonizing Black intellectuals if it promises electoral success.
I want to reflect in detail on a reaction that I have personally gotten to the tweet below. I believe it is emblematic of a widespread - and rapidly spreading - attitude among White Liberals and seems to be quickly gaining the upper hand (again) within the Democratic Party.
Here is the reply I would like to dissect. It is from someone with a fairly big Twitter following, someone I’m sure won’t be happy about being called out (I have purposefully blacked out all individual information as I want neither abuse nor attention coming their way).
Read 26 tweets
8 Nov
A look back at the “political correctness” hysteria of the early 90s really reveals so much about what these recurring rightwing moral panics are all about, and why we need to look past whatever the reactionary outrage du jour is and focus on the underlying political conflict.
I tried to get into that in this thread here, outlining that what these debates are actually about is power, status, and respect (who gets / deserves it, and who doesn’t).
I specifically made the comparison to the “pc” crusade of the early 90s, trying to situate the current “wokeism” and “CRT” moral panics within that longer-term context. Calling something “pc” was an attempt to discredit the claims of traditionally marginalized groups for respect.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!