The justice system is broken. Juries still work.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and happy week to you, happy Monday. Just back from Singapore, and of course, I arrive in the United States and political insanity on a whole bunch of things. The thing that really struck me was the Rittenhouse acquittal. Kyle Rittenhouse, this young man who brings an AR-15 to riots and ends up shooting and killing two people, injuring a third, and found not guilty unanimously by the jury on all counts. And the country, as expected in these things... And this is by far the legal case that's gotten the most attention in years, and the response of the country is absolutely polarized, and so depressing to me.
One of the things I will say that I find most impressive about the United States and its political institutions is the jury system. I've served on juries. I'm sure almost every American I've spoken to, am speaking to now, has been called up for juries. It takes some time away from your work, but everyone participates, and it means that you have a jury of your peers. It means that average Americans, whatever that means, educated, not so educated, White, Black, male, female, doesn't matter. They all show up. And they get the instructions from the judge, and they do their best to follow the law as the law is written. And I am extremely confident having, no, not watched every day of the trial, but having read the summaries every day, that the jury ruled found not guilty appropriately.
Now, there are plenty of problems with the underlying self-defense laws, and that is something that the country needs to work on in my view, but that doesn't make the jury verdict inappropriate or illegitimate. If they had found guilty, that would've been illegitimate. I'm seeing a lot of people say, "Well, what would've happened if Kyle Rittenhouse had been Black? The jury would've found him guilty." I personally don't believe that. I actually think that, again, given the instructions the jury was given, they would've found not guilty for anyone. But if he had been Black, and if they had found guilty, that would've been, frankly, a miscarriage of justice. It doesn't happen that often these days in the jury system. I think there are other things you can point to.
Like if Kyle Rittenhouse was Black and brought an AR-15 into that environment, he wouldn't have walked by a bunch of armed police who would've waved at him and walked him through, offered him water. That wouldn't have happened. I mean, reality of structural racism in American police departments, Blacks are treated very differently than Whites are treated. Blacks with AR-15s in a violent environment are treated very differently than Whites with AR-15s. That's pretty clear to me.
It's obviously bad that the Republicans are lionizing him. Some, not all, some, but I mean several members of Congress saying, "We're going to offer the guy an internship." I mean, this is a kid whose parenting clearly is either nonexistent or radioactive horrible, who has taken provocative actions, incredibly stupid and dangerous actions that caused these deaths. And the reality of Tucker Carlson putting him on and members of the Republican Party supporting and promoting him the way they are will encourage more such vigilantism. I think that's a horrible thing, but that has nothing to do with the jury finding Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty.
And I think that for me, this is very similar to the election in 2020, where Biden won. It was clear that Biden won. It was a legitimate election. There was no ability to find any fraud, because fraud didn't exist. And frankly, about the only place that you found a more decisive judgment than the jury found to find Rittenhouse not guilty is the findings of all of the courts throwing out all of the claims of Trump and Giuliani and his supporters that the election was somehow stolen. And yet, we still have a majority of Trump voters, a disturbingly large percentage of the American population, 30%, 35% that still today believe that the election was stolen. And they are encouraged to think so by the former president, by many of his supporters in the Republican Party in Congress, by many of his supporters in the mainstream media on the right. And I have absolutely seen on the left similar sorts of behavior following the Rittenhouse verdict.
People are not going to be enormously comfortable with the fact that I'm saying this. In fact, I noticed on social media when I made the point of this comparison... I heard not just from trolls, but from actual known people, "You're a White man. You should shut up." That's insanity. You don't want a country like that. You want a place where whatever your color and creed or gender, you say what you actually believe. And I do believe that we have an environment that has become so politically divisive and toxic that a lot of people are scared to just articulate their legitimate position. I'm not pretending I have a monopoly on the truth. All I promise you is that whatever I think about a political issue, I'm just going to tell you honestly. If you agree with it, that's fine. If you don't agree with it, that's okay too. I mean, it doesn't define who I am, my political opinion on an issue, any more than my other attributes don't define who I am. We're complicated people, but increasingly we're not treating each other that way.So anyway, that's my view on Rittenhouse. That's my view on the state of the country. And I hope everyone's doing okay and bringing the temperature down a little bit, and we try to engage a little bit more with each other. That's it. Talk to you soon.