Washington. -- Baseball may be the Great American Pastime; football, our favorite sport. But surely our most widely played, destructive "game" is that of placing blame.
We spent three decades and more asking "Who lost China?" when all but blindly arrogant anti-communists knew that China was never America's to "win" or "lose."
We Americans still toss insults at each other and spill blood over "Who lost the Vietnam War?" You hear a lot of self-destructive malarkey about "Who killed the Branch Davidian cult members in Waco?"
We constantly flagellate ourselves with arguments over "Who causes all this crime in America -- the movies, television or weak-kneed liberals who hamstring law enforcers?"
Perhaps the saddest, most hypocritical, blame game of them all involves the question, "Who has destroyed American morals, the American family, by welcoming the births of 1,200,000 illegitimate babies and 1,200,000 divorces every year?"
I hear the constant condemnation of black, and now white, teen-age girls as moral lepers when they do not cringe in shame because they have become pregnant outside marriage, and without apparent love. I personally have delivered scores of sermons to young black males about how "manhood cannot be based on a claim of 20,000 sexual conquests," or producing babies that you cannot support and will not love.
But I know that "the blame" does not go to 14- and 15-year-olds who become victims of sexual encounters. It goes to the mommas, fathers, grandmommas, aunts and uncles, who have become the slaves of sexual prurience, and who glorify "celebrities" who do precisely what they tell their children not to do.
What does anyone expect from teen-agers when the media and adult readers and viewers display a morbid fascination for an adulterous Donald Trump and a "home-breaker" blonde, Marla Maples?
Mr. Trump impregnates Ms. Maples outside marriage, and the most respectable publications in America deluge us with sickening details; they show Donald patting Marla's swelling belly. They titillate us with allegations that his wife found him to be such a lousy lover that she bought him a sex manual. Is a 15-year-old in some ghetto high school supposed to conclude that there's something terribly wrong with adultery, or her getting pregnant?
Almost everybody now talks about "black role models." Eddie Murphy got Nicole Mitchell to deliver him two babies before marrying her in a ceremony that made the cover of Ebony magazine, and got lots of "glamorous" coverage elsewhere. Who's to tell a black boy in Chattanooga that "knocking 'em up" is either immoral or a losing lifestyle financially?
Who's to blame? Try Sting, the musician who waited eight years after Trudie Styler delivered his baby to join her in marriage. Or Goldie Hawn, who has children ages 11 and 8 and still hasn't married Kurt Russell; or Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, or thousands of other high-profile people who produce babies "in sin."
When you, John and Jane Doe, idolize the people who say by their lifestyles that marriage doesn't matter, that fornication is a prelude to boasting, and that the old moral imperatives don't matter, you are the ones "to blame."
Just look in the mirror and see: "The villain is me!"
Carl T. Rowan is a syndicated columnist.