Diné presidential candidate brings injustice to the fore

WINDOW ROCK

Mark Charles is running for the President of the United States, and what he plans to do for the next 18 months is educate the country on a history that it wishes to forget and never recognized.

Courtesy photo

Mark Charles

Originally from Gallup, the husband and father of three announced his candidacy with a YouTube video. At the start of the video Charles delves into what exactly the U.S. Constitution is and what “We the People” actually means and who it serves.

“Our Constitution was written specifically and intentionally to protect the interest of white land-owning men,” says Charles in the video. “The Constitution’s doing exactly what it was designed to do. It’s protecting the interest of white land-owning men, and we don’t know what to do with this.”

Different events played into how Charles, whose mother is American with Dutch heritage and whose father is Navajo, eventually made the decision to run for President. He grew tired of numerous events where the Obama Administration, Sen. Cory Booker (currently one of the many Democrats running for President), and even Pope Francis had an opportunity to denounce the country’s past of genocide, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and other horrific events, but lacked the “courage.”

The last straw was one of the few times Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump actually agreed on anything, when Clinton said in a debate that “America is great because America is good.”
“They both agreed our history … our foundation is great,” said Charles. “They both agreed of all these things that dehumanization of Indigenous people and people of color, exclusion of women, history of genocide of Indigenous people and slavery of Africans, they agree these things are great.”

Charles, who writes a political blog called “Wireless Hogan,” also observed how presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was running his campaign. Charles said even if Sanders wasn’t successful in 2016, his objective to get the conversation started on systemic economic inequality worked.

“Every four years we actually have a national debate of who we are as a country and where we are going,” said Charles. “That is with our Presidential cycle. I realized that the best way to bring this to the forefront was through a political campaign for president.”

Now that he has decided to run for President his goal is to make the announcement on the Navajo Nation. When he lived in Fort Defiance during the 2008 and 2012 president elections Charles was “appalled” that no candidate visited the Nation.

“I think it’s appalling that you can become the President of the United States without ever speaking to the Indigenous people of this land,” said Charles. “My goal in everywhere I go is to first and foremost campaign to Indigenous people. My goal is to actually have my first campaign event on the Navajo Nation.”

Charles plans to campaign in all 50 states as well as areas that don’t have U.S. representation but where the people are still U.S. Citizens. He said this campaign strategy is unlike any other candidate who gives their progressive announcements and then heads to Iowa and New Hampshire.

“They literally go run off to campaign to white landowning men,” said Charles. “This will hamper whatever progressive platform they may have, because the institution will not want to change the institution.”

Information: markcharles2020.com


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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.