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I think perhaps a common (meaning universal, as in it exists in all these situations world wide) problem is being showcased in Oregon right now, and nobody’s paying attention. Yet it’s the fundamental issue that seems to be in play whether it’s the European immigrant problem, the US immigrant problem, the Australian immigrant problem (Dorette.Forrester mentioned it over in the South Africa thread with respect to the attitudes in Australia toward “foreigners), or wherever. It’s called respect for human beings that don’t look, sound, or act like us.

The Paiute Tribe originally had the land now “occupied” by the Bundy sons and their merry band, which “legally” belongs to the federal government, but which only technically means it belongs to “We the People.” Part of the occupied building houses thousands of artifacts dating back as much as several thousand years, along with maps of the area that document locations of thousands more. The woman responsible for their oversight, herself a Native American, expressed serious concern about the fate of those objects, the maps documenting the additional ones out on the land, as well as the land itself (some of which is considered sacred to Indians). The younger Bundy’s response was (roughly, since I no longer have the quote), “Well, we don’t mean any harm to the artifacts, and we’d return them to the Paiutes if they want them, but that dispute was settled long ago, and this is US (meaning white America) land, and the feds have taken it from ‘We the People.’ ” Interestingly, at least one tribal representative declined to accept the artifacts directly from the Bundy son, because of his disgust with toward the occupying group that cares nothing about those who were forcibly removed from their own land originally, or for the rich history still physically present on the land. Apparently he also knows that this same group (meaning Bundy’s) also rode ATVs all over a protected area over in Utah, where many petroglyphs and other items of priceless cultural and historical value exist – in defiance of signs erected by FedGov that ATV use was prohibited.

When people don’t show (let along feel) any respect for the values and cultures of some other group that “ain’t like us,” distrust and resentment builds. And that works both ways – both by the immigrants as well as by those receiving them, whether forcibly or voluntarily. One can try showing such respect, but if it isn’t reciprocated, conflict breaks out. And if there is a winner it is by force, and by the destruction (or the driving out) of the other party. Then the resulting acreage either resumes its former look and feel, or it assumes the new look and feel of the conquering invaders. It’s all about respect for other human beings. One does not have to “become” the other culture or disappear. But if they don’t have sufficient overlap that’s shared and valued, conflict will always remain (until it’s “settled” – and that ain’t pretty).

I read a definition many years ago of the difference between passive, aggressive, and assertive. Aggressive = “I count, you don’t.” Passive = “You count, I don’t.” And assertive = “I count, and I count you.” Two aggressives = conflict. An aggressive and a passive = domination (which can build resentment and lead to the former). Only when two (or more) positions of mutual respect co-exist does it work (not the same as mere ‘tolerance’). In past decades, it used to exist in the United States and Canada as a melting pot (if one disregards the entire denial of Indian cultures as even relevant – but no one except Indians wants to even acknowledge that, let alone seriously discuss it). What went around almost everywhere (US, South Africa, Europe, Australia, etc.) is coming back around, and it ain’t pretty. Add to that the “we want it ALL, and we’ll TAKE it!” attitude of so many Muslims, and it’s even worse. But then Europeans are probably seen much the same way by Indians and Aborigines.