Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Kyle Rittenhouse, the 2021 Mickey Rooney

Unless something unexpected and dreadful befalls him going forward, expect to see Kyle Rittenhouse — the cherubic-looking kid who sobbed his way into eternity on the witness stand in his own murder trial — morph into the 21st century’s Folk Hero Extraordinaire — the new-age Mickey Rooney.

Just 18, Rittenhouse will soon be bigger than Donald J. Trump, the twice-impeached, one-term, 75-year-old former president. Rittenhouse is that big. Members of Congress are feuding over which one will get the exonerated murderer on their staff as an intern.

Kevin Rittenhouse is the 2021 Mickey Rooney. He even looks like him, that same grownup-Beaver naïveté — but now with an automatic rifle.

When he was 18, Rooney became the first teenager nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “Babes in Arms.” Little 5-foot-2-inch Mickey Rooney was bigger than Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney and Errol Flynn.

Rittenhouse deserves a spectacular award for his immortal puckering, then boo-hooing without a single tear, on the witness stand. That performance was also Oscar-worthy.

I can see his face on breakfast cereal boxes — puckish, vulnerable, innocent, but with deadly aim, the Kyle Rittenhouse Flakes. The possibilities for glorification of this real-life Walter Mitty, who killed not one but two communist Black Lives Matter sympathizers, the possibilities are endless.

One celebrity facing his own legal trouble has already copped the “Kyle Rittenhouse plea” in order to attack the news media.

“I guess it’s important to know all the facts before jumping to conclusions, huh? Apparently not everything written in the media is true,” tweeted Trevor Bauer, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher accused of sexual assault.

As a side hustle, Rittenhouse can always sign and sell T-shirts, and the gun, and other paraphernalia from that now-famous nighttime shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I’m thinking dashboard bobbleheads. Endless possibilities.

But even though the White Tribe has scored a significant Rocky Marciano moment here, their ultimate defeat is inevitable. White tribal vigilantism will not succeed. The original slave patrols could not hold back the eventual dismantling of slavery. The night-riding, hooded Ku Kluxers could not suppress the tide of Black progress.

The Rittenhouse-Rooney-Rangers, whatever the newly emboldened gun crowd will call themselves, will not prevail against the tide of Black Liberation: Freedom, Justice and Equality. Black people will eventually succeed and prosper, despite the giddy joy now on the lips of the Repugnikkkans. Not even a thousand Rittenhouses in every city in the United States can hold back the tide of social justice that’s coming like a fire traveling along a fuse, which Kyle/Mickey Rooney 2021 seeks to thwart.

Truth is, the events in Kenosha which are the breeding ground for the new national folk hero Rittenhouse stem from the deep roots of white supremacy in all this country’s institutions. The police do not protect Black folks the same way they do white people. Duh? No surprise here.

Those Rittenhouse wannabes want to see a Black uprising, leading to an all-out race war, in order to once and for all reestablish the white-tribal benefits that have been diluted in their minds in order to accommodate the just demands of the have-nots in the society. It worked after the rejected election of 1860, which the yet-to-be-identified-as Ku Kluxers attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina in order for the offended slave owners to preserve their human tilth, and it’s happening now, ever since the contested 2020 election.

Right-wing extremists have already published a flood of propaganda lionizing Kyle Rittenhouse/Mickey Rooney 2021, and his acquittal will embolden them to go on about his violent actions somehow being heroic.

Kyle Rittenhouse cried in court — with no tears, mind you — because that was in his script, like Mickey Rooney cried, giggled, laughed and blushed in the more than 300 films in which he appeared.

In his famous Andy Hardy films, Mickey Rooney was the adorable son of a judge. In the courtroom of Wisconsin Judge Bruce Schroeder, the longest-serving judge on the state’s bench, Kyle Rittenhouse was treated more like the judge’s son he was trying to protect than a criminal defendant on trial for admittedly killing two people!

On the silver screen, everyone knew how in advance that things would always work out well for Ninnian Joseph Yule Jr. (aka Mickey Rooney). Now that a practically all-white jury has acquitted young Kyle Rittenhouse, he will surely take his place among the white tribal folk heroes like Wyatt Earp and Davy Crockett and make-believe folk heroes like John Wayne, as the new model: Mickey Rooney 2021.

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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