Source: Paul O’Brien

For more than three decades, I played organized baseball — Little League, Pony, Colt, Thoroughbred, high school, college, semi-pro, and scouting teams, and then in a fairly competitive Men’s League (pardon the archaic expression). The national pastime was, assuredly, also my personal pastime, my passion, and my pleasure. Setting aside Major League Baseball’s current self-inflicted infirmity, i.e., its flirtation with progressive politics and pop culture, it saddens me to see the game relinquish its traditional identity as America’s Pastime.

Open any newspaper or magazine, click on just about any website, watch a movie or TV show that’s been produced within the last year, take a close look at a random advertisement, and you cannot help but conclude that America has wholly embraced a new pastime: pretending.

Let’s not pretend. Pretending is no longer simply child’s play. It is the zeitgeist. As a people, we are encouraged — even expected — to pretend that an athlete born as a boy has no advantage over those born as a girl once the erstwhile boy declares his female identity (and perhaps dresses the part). Meanwhile, students and teachers must obey the corruption of the English language, never letting on that they know of the deceit, when using the “preferred pronouns” of folks who pretend to believe that humans come in virtually limitless genders and that gender and sex are entirely unrelated matters.

When discussing scientific theories, we are ordered to accept “the science” (a paradox bathed in irony) in explaining things as disparate as climate change and the efficacy of cloth and paper face masks in preventing the spread of a virus. 

We are even urged to engage in the fantasy that our nation was founded in order to facilitate slavery and that we rebelled against the king and country that kept us in bondage for that reason — and not for any of the enumerated grievances in the document that actually declared our independence.

In more tangible ways, it gets even worse. Failing to pretend will get one banned from social media platforms and targeted for doxing by avid pretenders. In perhaps an extreme case, I have a friend who was expelled from his church membership in Santa Monica, California, because he refused to prostrate himself, apologize for his whiteness, and pledge his loyalty to Black Lives Matter. My friend was born and raised in Ireland and wondered why the slavery imposed over 150 years ago in this country would be imputed to him on the basis of his complexion. Clearly, he needs to work on his pretending skills.        

Perhaps the easiest example of pretending is CNN. It pretends to be a news organization, a reliable source, journalistic in its approach. Its sillier sister, MSNBC, at least affords viewers some respect by delivering its preposterous daily scripts via personalities so cartoonish in visage, voice, and delivery that one cottons on rather quickly to the schtick — propagandizing, after all, differs from pretending. Both networks amount to 24/7 televangelism for leftist doctrine, but CNN folk are obvious hypocrites, while MSNBC’s on-air personalities seem to be actually insane. The executives at each of these cultural ministries are culpable of Felony Pretending, while their audiences are essentially accomplices after the fact.

Our president also clearly enjoys pretending. For example, he has maintained that voter integrity laws are tantamount to “Jim Crow 2.0,” and that climate change represents an existential threat. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats pretend that the couple of hundred unarmed, mostly middle-aged Trump supporters who wandered around the Capitol Building on January 6 — largely staying within rope lines and admonishing the few rowdier ones to behave — constituted “an insurrection.” Both the president and the Democrat leadership absurdly claim, with straight faces, no less, that “white supremacist domestic terrorists” are an existential threat to the nation. Helpful hint: whenever a politician uses the term “existential threat,” he or she is probably pretending.

The evidence, however, shows that a far greater threat to the nation is the politicians themselves. President Biden is famous for his gaffes, but the litany of Joey B’s lines that the White House and DNC struggle to clarify, place into context, and deny by parsing, portray a fellow whose “evolving” concern for BIPOC Americans is dubious at best. As if to save the president from further scrutiny of his history of racial insensitivity, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took center stage this week. Whitehouse, who routinely savages Republicans as white supremacists, was questioned regarding his membership in an elite, exclusively white beach club in Newport.  He has maintained and will maintain his membership because he recognizes that the club needs to progress and he might be a part of that growth. Now, that is varsity level pretending.

But it isn’t just the political branches. The Supreme Court once pretended that the Constitution of the United States not only includes a “right to privacy” that trumps the right to life, but also that it discovered the right emanating from a penumbra. Previous jurists, as well as our Founders, had simply missed it, blinded, one must surmise, by the intensity of the glow. America’s courts are remarkably adept at pretending, bringing deeper meaning to the expression, “legal fiction.”

The courts and the politicians are pikers, though, when compared to academics and activists. Critical Race Theory (CRT) infected and infested the American public school system because educrats and administrators cowed school boards into adopting curricula and texts that set history on its head, eviscerate grammar, condemn traditional values, encourage racial animus, and groom children to be collectivists. They laughably label math as racist, and even more wickedly pretend that crime will subside if we cripple law enforcement. All the while, they pretend their aim is education and not indoctrination.

This new national pastime is pernicious. Ever since MLB, bowing to BLM, relocated the All-Star Game to Denver from Atlanta, pretending that Georgia’s new voter integrity law would suppress the vote, I have pretended to detest professional baseball. (My wife will tell you my TV-viewing habits betray a hyper-hypocrite in this regard.) But I cannot hate baseball. My love of the game is in my DNA. It preempts the visceral temper tantrum that would cause me to throw out the proverbial baby. Any pretending I do prospectively will be in the telling of my on-field exploits.

My prayer is that CRT’s victims in schools and the workplace, the citizens subjected to the nonsensical rantings of politicians, the society burdened by the sophistries of judicial monsters and the visceral temper tantrums of educrats, as well as the readers and viewers of most media outlets today will resist pretending. I pray they will not go along to get along, that their own actual experience and empirical data cause them to reflectively consider reality and conclude that we are the posterity to whom our Founders bequeathed the blessings of liberty. I pray they realize that their love of America is in their DNA. And I know I must do even more than pray.

Americans, hold fast. We are in midseason in this fight and must prove ourselves in the dog days of August — at school board meetings, on social media, at the water cooler, in the classrooms and conference rooms, at the stadiums and concert halls, wherever the enemy lies we must bludgeon it with the truth. I am confident we can win, but only if we stop pretending the problem will simply go away.