Let’s all pretend a Republican now serves as mayor of Minneapolis rather than for one day out of the last 59 years.
Let’s all pretend Democrats do not enjoy a political monopoly over every big city plagued by the worst violence.
Let’s all pretend white supremacists and Nazis and Russians destroyed American cities rather than the people who vote for the people saying white supremacists and Nazis and Russians destroyed American cities.
Let’s all pretend that one cop’s inhumanity indicts the entirety of law enforcement but many activists’ violence says nothing about the protests.
Let’s all pretend the marchers and the looters do not overlap but represent totally separate phenomena with no interconnection whatsoever.
Let’s all pretend that crime sprees that follow rallies that call for the abolition of prisons and police come as entirely unpredictable outcomes.
Let’s all pretend that abolishing prisons, an idea surely scoffed at by Derek Chauvin two weeks ago, does not now grow on him.
Let’s all pretend that if 1 percent of the bloodshed witnessed at the protests occurred during a Donald Trump rally or a pro-life march then CNN would fervently insist on separating the bad apples from the batch.
Let’s all pretend that police brutality sustains these riots rather than police passivity.
Let’s all pretend that citizens who destroy businesses nearly destroyed by a lockdown exhibit a superior social consciousness.
Let’s all pretend that the protests against coronavirus shutdowns unpatriotically endangered public health but the protests days later against the police patriotically promoted public safety.
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Let’s all pretend that hairdressers who open their businesses in defiance of ukases masquerading as laws deserve jail time but activists who pillage businesses in defiance of law and lockdowns deserve the get-out-of-jail-free card awarded them by bail reform.
Let’s all pretend government using powers not authorized to it in response to coronavirus represented essential, outside-the-box action but its refusal to use powers that serve as its primary raison d’être in response to the riots represents prudence.
Let’s all pretend rioters wear masks to protect others against germs rather than to protect their own identities.
Let’s all pretend protesters carry skateboards as a means of transportation rather than as window-smashing implements for the shopping excursions that inevitably follow demonstrations.
Let’s all pretend that the struggle against inequality — waged by hipster Brooklyn lawyers throwing a Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle, looters using a $350,000 Rolls-Royce as a getaway car, and a YouTube millionaire updating radical chic by engaging in ideological tourism among shopping-mall vandals — wears not as a noble mask to cover ignoble deeds.
Let’s all pretend that a mob wantonly violating the rights of others has something to do with civil rights.
Let’s all pretend that the lives of the federal officer murdered in Oakland in a drive-by shooting as a protest occurred nearby, the retired police captain murdered protecting a pawn shop in St. Louis, and the vibrant, young woman murdered walking away from a demonstration in Davenport, Iowa, matter much to those loudly insisting that black lives matter.
Let’s all pretend that “All Lives Matter” amounts to a slur instead of a basic moral truth.
Let’s all pretend that another country exists where large numbers of black people enjoy greater cultural and economic accomplishments and a better quality of life.
Let’s all pretend that accusations of racism and bigotry from protesters do not constitute what psychologists call projection.
Let’s all pretend that the attorney general broke up a peaceful protest with “tear gas” outside of the White House because the president wanted a photo-op and not because in the days prior “more than 60 Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers and Special Agents sustained multiple injuries from projectiles such as bricks, rocks, bottles, fireworks and other items” and “personnel were also directly physically assaulted as they were kicked, punched, and exposed to bodily fluids.”
Let’s all pretend that a drugged-out man, who had just ripped off a store, with a long history of addiction and violent crime, including a home invasion in which he pressed a gun to a Hispanic woman’s stomach, demanded drugs and money, and ransacked her house as an accomplice pistol-whipped her, amounts to this generation’s Emmett Till.
Let’s all pretend that “fentanyl intoxication” and “recent methamphetamine use” does not make a bad outcome more likely.
Let’s all pretend that facts are racist.
Let’s all pretend that when Massachusetts’s attorney general says, “America is burning, but that’s how forests grow,” when Long Beach cops docilely watch looters breaking windows and stealing without apprehending anyone, and when the mayor of Los Angeles responds to a crime wave by pledging to cut the crime-fighting budget by more than $100 million (“I want you to know we will not be increasing our police budget — how can we at this moment?”), it does not jar more than the violence.
Let’s all pretend that refusing in a public way to join the great pretend comes without great consequence.
Let’s all pretend the solution to both the disturbing, callous police brutality in Minneapolis and the disturbing, self-righteous violence in reaction to it involves a thousand new laws rather than adherence to one old one (the golden rule).
Let’s all pretend it is not later than you think.
Let’s all pretend that people still playing pretend beyond their 11th birthday say anything worth listening to.