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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/13/14

Does Cliven Bundy Represent the Ugly American?

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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

ATV riders pause near Indian ruins on as closed portion of the Recapture Canyon trail
ATV riders pause near Indian ruins on as closed portion of the Recapture Canyon trail
(Image by (Photo: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY))
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>The Ugly American is back in a big way.

Back in March of 2001, the Taliban blew up and destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, two massive, 6th century statues of the Buddha, that were carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamwam valley of Afghanistan.

The historic centuries' old statues were destroyed by an order from the leader of the Taliban at the time, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who had declared that the statues were religious idols and thus forbidden by the First Commandment in the Bible.

The desecration of these statues caused mass outrage throughout the western world and here in America, because people just couldn't understand how a group could destroy ancient historic relics and have such little respect for other cultures.

Well, fast forward to today, and the lack of respect that the Taliban had for other cultures is showing up right here in America.

This weekend, there was a large and illegal ATV -- or All Terrain Vehicle -- ride through Recapture Canyon in Utah.

Prior to the ride, there had been a great deal of criticism and concern from the Navajo Nation, because the ride through Recapture Canyon would put thousands of years of cultural resources for Native Americans at risk, not to mention that the ride also went over an ancient and sacred Native American burial ground.

But the concerns from the Navajo Nation and the legal requirement for the Bureau of Land Management to protect ancient sacred sites and artifacts were ignored, and the ride went along as planned, despite it violating federal law and putting archaeological sites at risk.

It should come as no surprise that some of the ATV-riding law breakers in Utah this weekend were members of the Cliven Bundy camp.

In an email blast to his "followers," Bundy wrote that, "We need to help the people of Blanding re-establish who is in control of the land. This is your next stand. Will you be there to help them like you helped us?"

While Bundy's call to his followers to illegally ride on government land and put thousands of years' worth of history and culture at risk is deplorable, it's a symptom of a much larger problem in America, a problem which has been around since Columbus first sailed the ocean blue.

Even though it's 2014, there is still a strong Eurocentric disdain for all other cultures throughout American society. If the culture isn't White and European-based, much of white America pretty much doesn't give a damn about it.

And while it may not be as obviously bloody or deadly, it's the same lack of respect that Columbus showed for the Taino people on the island of Hispaniola (the island which today is the home of Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

Prior to Columbus's arrival, the Taino were a flourishing indigenous group, that had lived in peace for hundreds of years.

But then Columbus arrived, began a campaign of mass slaughter and an active sex trade, and enslaved many of the Taino people in harsh conditions.

By 1548, the once booming Taino population was down to just 500 people.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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