indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Mark Charles: Mitt Romney vows never to apologize for US
Monday, December 19, 2011
Filed Under: Opinion
More on: apologies, mark charles, mitt romney
 
A few weeks ago Mitt Romney released a campaign video in which he boldly stated that, as President, he would "never apologize for the United States of America." I would like to ask him to clarify those remarks for the nearly four million Native Americans citizens of this country.

A few years ago, the Canadian Prime Minister issued a public apology to the First Nations people of Canada. That apology stemmed from the injustice of residential schools that the First Nations people suffered at the hand of the European immigrants who entered their land and aggressively laid claim to it.

This apology did not solve the problems between Canada's immigrant population and the indigenous peoples of that land. Nor was this apology in any way an ending point. But it was a necessary and important step to take.

Reconciliation is a journey, a process, a rebuilding of trust. It is not accomplished in a single action, nor does it necessarily have a clearly defined ending point. Reconciliation is a journey to restore a relationship, and apologizing is an essential part of that journey.

I am 41 years old, and I have been married for 13 years with 3 children. One of the reasons my marriage is still healthy and my children still love me is because I learned a long time ago of the indispensable value of a sincere and well-timed apology.

No one is perfect. We all, at one point or another, act selfishly, arrogantly, ignorantly and even maliciously. It is a part of being human. The strongest people I have known and the most effective leaders I have followed are those who honestly acknowledge this.

I have found that the more intimate the relationship or the more elevated the role of leadership, the more necessary the ability to apologize becomes. In other words, you may be able to maintain a casual acquaintance with a co-worker without apologizing, but if your acquaintance becomes your friend and over time your friend becomes your spouse, then I am quite certain that the opportunity and the need to apologize in that relationship will present itself time and time again.

By the same token, you may be able to lead a small three-member committee to raise funds for a local charity and complete your term without having to apologize to your fellow committee members for unkind words or insensitive actions. But let’s say that same committee is successful and continues year after year, and the organization becomes increasingly dependent upon the funds you are raising.

The pressure mounts and the amount of funds raised grows exponentially. Then, again, the opportunity and need to apologize to the members on the committee, for thoughtless words spoken in haste or insensitive actions due to the growing pressure, will present itself time and time again.

The bio on Mitt Romney’s campaign website communicates that over the past 42 years he has raised a family, maintained a healthy marriage and built and led successful business ventures. With all of that experience building and maintaining those multitudes of relationships, I am willing to bet that if he were completely honest he could give a powerful exhortation on the indispensable value of a sincere and well-timed apology.

The office of the President is the most powerful, public and complex office in our land. It requires the holder to build, maintain, lead and reconcile relationships throughout our country and the world. Therefore, it baffles me that a top-tier candidate for this office would make such a seemingly shortsighted and arrogant statement that he will "never apologize for the United States of America."

Those words may score political points during a partisan debate, but they are not the words of a serious national candidate who is seeking to be a leader on the global stage.

I love our country and am proud to be an American. But I also come from the Native American community which knows first-hand that the USA is not perfect. In our short history with the United States, we have endured forced assimilation, boarding schools, stolen land, kidnapped children, relocation and, for some tribes, genocide.

Yet, there are still a great number of us who are willing to work through that dark history and strive to live proud and productive lives as citizens of this country. But we, and our communities, are still hurting. We crave reconciliation and are longing to restore this important relationship that has been broken by our country. And one would expect that at some point in the healing process, an apology would be given. Who better to deliver it than the democratically elected President of these United States?

So if the need to apologize for the USA can be found with the first people that this young country ever encountered, how can we expect to traverse the rest of our history, as well as the plethora of global relationships without encountering that need again?

Mitt Romney is a smart, well-educated man. He is campaigning to competent people. So I ask him and the rest of the 2012 Presidential candidates: Please do not insult our intelligence or your own, by making such arrogant and short-sighted statements like “I will never apologize for the United States of America.”

As I have observed and participated in the leadership process, I have concluded two things:

First, our world is run through relationships.

Second, everyone is human. We are all learning and to some extent just making it up as we go along. Crisis tends to be conveyed when leaders, media, or institutions portray themselves or others as “experts” and then act surprised or even shocked when they fail.

To err is human and the ability to give a sincere and well-timed apology is essential. Please do not let anyone lead you to believe otherwise.

Mark Charles can be reached by email at mcharles@wirelesshogan.com, on Twitter at Wirelesshogan and on the web at www.wirelesshogan.com.


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe responds to opponents in casino suit (8/28)
Jamul Band continues work on $360M casino after victory in court (8/28)
Editorial: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ups ante in casino feud (8/28)
Ho-Chunk Nation launches outreach effort amid casino expansion (8/28)
Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over gaming initiative (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
more headlines...


Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.