Elizabeth Warren should consider including Massachusetts in her national apology tour.
After all, she promised the people she represents in the U.S. Senate that she would not run for president,
That vow was made in 2018, so maybe it doesn’t count in 2019. Still, it would be refreshing if she said she had planned to run for president all along, which everybody surmised, in the first place.
But Warren throughout has had only a nodding relationship with the truth.
Seeking re-election in 2018, Warren said on “Meet the Press” on March 10: “I am not running for president of the United States. I am running for the United States Senate in 2018 Massachusetts.”
No sooner was Warren re-elected in November than she announced the formation of her presidential exploratory committee a month later. Two months after that, on Feb. 9, 2019, she officially announced that she was running for president.
So much for truth in campaigning.
Ordinarily it would be no big deal. Most politicians treat the truth as something relative and fungible, like a piece of clay that can be molded to fit the circumstances.
Truth is usually the first casualty of a political campaign.
Warren has been reshaping and remolding the truth throughout her career, and continue to do so when she first ran for ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
It was soon after that her claims of being descended from both Cherokee and Delaware Indian tribes, which she used to enhance her initial thin resume, began to fall apart.
First the Delaware piece disappeared, and then the Cherokee bit fell by the wayside. Warren was left with only a distance relationship to any Native American ancestry, so distant that she has no more Native American blood running through her veins than does your average American.
Warren is a feisty woman who, from humble beginnings, had a burning desire to get ahead, no matter the means. And if this meant listing herself as Native American when she registered with the Texas Bar Association back in 1986, so be it.
It worked. She made her way all the way to Harvard as she — blonde, blue-eyed and as white as alabaster — ended up as a minority hire at Harvard Law School.
That took a lot of chutzpa, which is not a Cherokee word.
But it all unraveled, and President Trump, who has never come across a wound he does not enjoy pouring salt on, has mocked Warren as Pocahontas, a nasty nickname that has caught on.
In fighting back Warren has given a series of apologies, especially to Native American groups, while never explaining exactly what she is apologizing for.
At one point, speaking to a group of Native Americans, Warren, parsing words, said, “I am not a tribal citizen. My apology is an apology for not having been more sensitive about trial citizenship and tribal sovereignty.”
No one, including Warren, has ever claimed that she was “a tribal citizen,” or brought up tribal citizenship or sovereignty. Warren only claimed she was a native American and a Cherokee.
A week ago, before another Native American group in Sioux City, Iowa, Warren said, “I want to a say this, like anyone who’s been honest with themselves. I know that I have made mistakes. I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot.”
But what are the mistakes Warren is apologizing for? And who has she harmed?
Is she sorry that by assuming a Native American identity she obtained an academic position and standing that could have gone to a legitimate minority?
Is she apologizing for listing herself as a Native American in Texas, when she was not? Is she sorry she used her alleged minority status to get a job a Harvard? Is she remorseful that she falsely listed herself as a Cherokee in a cookbook?
We do not know. She doesn’t say.
Warren has done very well on the campaign trail. She has become a front runner. As such, her past claims of minority status will become more of an issue as the campaign goes on.
One solution to her identity problem is to simply tell the truth, or a version of it.
Which is, her parents told her she was descended from Native Americans, namely the Cherokees. It wasn’t true, but she wanted to believe it. And she used it to get ahead.
And now she is sorry — sorry for getting caught.
It’s not much of an apology, but it is more truthful and sincere than the one she’s got.
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