This Monday, Kyle Rittenhouse took the stage during a week-long event for Turning Point USA and received a thunderous reception from the audience, minting him as the latest conservative hero after his acquittal in the shooting deaths of two people and the wounding of another during riots at Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
Writing for Rolling Stone this Thursday, Natasha Lee contends that TPUSA's hero worship of Rittenhouse plays into a larger theme emerging in the right-wing movement, which casts itself as a victim in a "noble uphill battle against liberal persecution."
"The ludicrous idea that conservatives are particularly oppressed has been a theme of right-wing activism at large throughout the Trump era," Lee writes. "Conservative media has anointed the teenager, who now stands to make untold sums of money from his newfound celebrity as an avatar of this imagined oppression for the next generation of conservatives — many of which flocked to the youth-oriented AmericaFest. Rittenhouse has gladly accepted the mantle. He even teased that he might sue the media for defaming him during an interview with Fox News later on Monday."
The event, titled AmericaFest, pushed the idea that conservatives are under attack from all sides, from alleged voter fraud, to vaccine mandates, to cancel culture.
"It’s a radical anti-reality at a time when a relatively small subset of the U.S. population has a stranglehold on the Supreme Court, controls a mass of state legislatures, and has had an even share of the White House despite winning the popular vote only one time since 1988," Lee writes.
Read the full op-ed over at Rolling Stone.