The Emperor Has No Clothes

Trump and Putin at Monday’s press conference in Helsinki, Finland


Published July 17, 2018

It doesn’t really matter what political party you align yourself with. For most Americans the last week has been somewhat surreal. Our president publicly criticized Theresa May, the prime minister of the nation he was currently visiting. He labeled one of our closest allies and trading partners, the European Union, as a foe. And on Monday he publicly suggested that he believes the “strong denials” of Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, over the broad consensus and conclusion of the entire U.S. Intelligence community. And then he faulted the previous administration, once again stated his own innocence regarding collusion and then complained about the fact that some people still question the legitimacy of his victory over Hillary Clinton. All of this, at a press conference on foreign soil and while standing only a few feet from the leader of the nation charged with ongoing efforts to disrupt our democratic elections. I would dare say, that at some point over the past week, nearly every American felt some sense of shame regarding the spectacle President Trump was making of our nation.

President Trump publicly aired our country’s dirty political laundry in a space, the international stage, that for centuries both parties have worked to exclusively, in fact nearly religiously,reserve for bipartisan demonstration of American exceptionalism. Our collective tendency is to try to counteract that narrative which President Trump put on display. And this is exactly what most Democrats and even many Republicans are doing. Vehemently arguing that Donald Trump is misrepresenting us, because we want to believe, we need to believe, that we are exceptional. Senator John McCain, as he so often does, stated this argument best when he said, “speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad.”

Mark Charles

But remember, Senator McCain is talking about us, the nation that separates families at its borders. The nation that has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. The country where people of color get arrested for sitting quietly in a Starbucks. A republic that annually celebrates a Declaration which dehumanizes its indigenous population as “merciless Indian savages.”

As someone who has spent the past decade of my life studying the Doctrine of Discovery and the past year uncovering and lamenting the blatant white supremacist views and vile genocidal policies of the man we celebrate as our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. I recognize that the way I felt this weekend, is the way I have felt many times prior.

The pain is not that President Trump is misrepresenting our country. The pain is that President Trump is representing our country quite accurately. Our history is colonial. Our most beloved leaders were brutal. And our stated foundational beliefs regarding who deserves freedom, liberty and justice is extremely exclusive.

And there lies the pain. Not in the misrepresentation. But in the honest reflection.

I believe it is time we stopped senselessly arguing about when we were last great, or how soon we can be great again. And instead committed ourselves to having an honest conversation regarding if we truly want to be a nation where “We the People” finally means “All the People.”

The lid is off. The lie has been exposed. The emperor has no clothes. As a nation we can either begin the humble process of acknowledging and covering our nakedness, or we can increase the resolve of our denial and continue parading around the globe as if we were dressed in the finest of robes. Fooling no one, but ourselves.

Mark Charles is the son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man. He serves as the Washington DC correspondent for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog “Reflections from the Hogan.” Mark speaks and writes regularly about the Doctrine of Discovery. You can learn more about the Doctrine of Discovery and #TCC2021 on his website – Mark is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and  Instagram.

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