Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Lust for Power - and Resulting Stupidity

It's commonplace to cite Lord Acton's dictum that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Who can doubt it, as we look around in the world?  But I want to look here at one of my current cases, with the Rowland Unified School District.

These parents and this school district will never be good friends.  They need a divorce, and when asked, we proposed a divorce settlement.  And so they say they're thinking about it.

But while thinking, they took a couple of steps to ensure that we have to defend the family.  The kid is owed 50 minutes a week of speech and language services, so after the IEP meeting the vice principal chose to sit there, and that was fine.  What wasn't fine is that he interfered, chitchatting with the speech and language pathologist (SLP) and keeping the kid from getting the service, which we can prove.

And then they stepped things up, sending an "intern" named Guzman to do the service, supposedly, but actually to ask a lot of nosy questions about the kid's family life and other things which CA Ed Code 51513 forbids them to go into.  It's pretty obvious that Guzman, if that's his name, is a school cop in plain clothes.

So, obviously, the kid can no longer go to school.  It's not safe.

This play for power is pretty stupid, we think, since it requires the parents to keep him out of school and to push back, which we've done so far with a flyer detailing this and other stunts.

Among other things, when we stepped out of the IEP meeting, they promptly yukked it up about how stupid I am, which is fine - I'm better off conceding that point!  But then the SLP began to boast about how she was going to "stalk" me on the internet, and indeed went on to state that she was going to take a couple of kids to "TP" my house.  My house has been toilet-papered before, and was none the worse for wear, so I'm not trembling.  But the proposal was - shall we say? - unprofessional, and for their lawyer to sit there and condone the suggestion was pretty unprofessional too.

Their attorney is quite confident that if we taped these goings on we can't use it because it's forbidden by the Penal Code - 632 is the provision that might apply.  Just as Vladimir Putin is not so far presenting the evidence surely in his possession that MH-17 was in fact shot down by a missile and cannon fire from a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi-25, I will sit for now on just what evidence we have for these remarkable things. 

Enough for now to point out that this district's insane conduct is driven by their lust for power and domination over the kid and his parents.  A rational calculation would lead them to settle up and be rid of the whole thing, which will be getting a lot worse for them in several ways, the higher cost of fighting being only one of them.  Only their insane need to dominate and bully the family makes them just keep digging deeper.

It does seem proper here to say that if we did get this information by taping without their knowledge, it is in fact a perfectly lawful tape, fully admissible in any proceeding, because Penal Code 632 and its exclusionary rule do not apply - for two reasons:

1. The CA Ed Code provision states than when we give 24 hour notice of taping, then "notwithstanding Penal Code 632," we can tape.  The "Rule of Surplusage" in statutory interpretation holds that "a statute should not be interpreted in a way that renders a word superfluous."  Accordingly, since Penal Code 632 doesn't apply anyway if it's known that you're taping - there's the recorder on the table, and that's why credit card companies tell you on the phone that they're taping - "notwithstanding Penal Code 632" can't mean anything if it applies only when they know they're on Candid Recorder.  It can only mean that taping the meeting without their knowledge when you've given notice that you're taping the meeting does not bring in 632.  If they actually wanted privacy, they could have left the meeting, as we did.

2. Moreover, even if that were not so, the CA 2nd Court of Appeal ruled in Evens v Superior Court in 1999 that 632, and therefore its exclusionary rule, does not apply if it can be expected that the conversation will leave the room.  The Evens court spoke of a classroom, and the expectation that people will talk about it outside.  How about the IEP meeting while we were out?

Clearly the district people in the room when we were out had no expectation that their conversation would not leave the room.  The SLP was going to talk to the kids about TP-ing my house.  The vice principal was going to talk to his boss and others about why he was going to be spending all that time in the room with the SLP.  The lawyer was going to talk to the special ed director and others about the meeting, to shape their plans accordingly.  Anybody in the room that didn't like the unprofessional conduct that she witnessed might have talked to us or someone else.

It's easy to see how stupid the district people are being here, just as it's easy to see how stupid Samson was, or the disciples of Jesus in the gospels.  But the lesson is that just because we don't see ourselves being that stupid doesn't mean it isn't so.  None of these others saw how stupid they were either, when caught up in it.

We see here what it does to your brain cells to be a control freak - and let's learn it well.  But let's not mock!  "Thank you God that I'm not like other men" never ends well.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sanity and madness - it depends on what we do with "Do to others as you want them to do to you"

Summing up his teaching on prayer - how do you talk to God and expect God to listen - Jesus concluded: "Whatever you want men to do to you, do so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  In this he was restating Rabbi Hillel with approval, when someone asked him to sum it up when standing on one foot: "Whatever you hate, do not to others.  This is the whole Law.  Now, go study."

It's not for nothing that Jesus and Hillel said that this is the law and the prophets. We blow it off, and we're just insane, which is why the American empire and its people are insane. We go by this rule - the punchline of Jesus's teaching on prayer - and everything comes clear.


Simple example. If Russia spent $5 billion to subvert the government of Canada and install an anti-American regime that wanted to join a military alliance with Russia and China, and post nuclear missiles aimed at the US on its territory, and which attacked, say, British Columbia and killed several thousand people while driving several hundred thousand into Washington and Oregon, what would we expect the US to do about that? What is wrong with Russia doing about it anything up to what we would expect the US to do?

Here's another simple example. Even now, the US population today is not short of people walking around with guns and criss-crossed guts. Some of them blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City and killed 168 people, besides other assorted killings over the years. Now let's suppose the People's Liberation Army occupies the United States and installs a Chinese puppet regime in DC - a sectarian regime oriented to minorities that have been shut out in the past, as the US did in Iraq. Let's suppose further that the PLA was routinely killing US civilians, breaking into their homes at 2 AM, raping women, and dragging people off to torture centers, while arming and training black and Latino militias to fight against the resistance of formerly dominant ethnic groups such as white folks, as the US did in Iraq to the formerly dominant Sunnis at the hand of Shi'a militias.

What would happen in the US under such a regime? Would there be shootings, roadside bombs, and suicide bombings - keeping in mind that the very popular movie Independence Day featured a heroic American suicide bomber?

Now if we would think it improper for us to be done this way, what excuse does an American Christian have to think that it's anything but abominable to do it to anyone else? Why should we not expect people to respond as we would?

Monday, January 05, 2015

What counts this year, 2015

Gayle and I were reading Numbers 19 last week, and she was quite frustrated with the subject matter. So she shouted at God, "Why don't you come down and show us what this means?" 

And so it was.  She cried out for understanding, and God gave it to her, just as promised.

Little stuff like this is really essential - in a dismal time, for God to show up once in a while so that that there is no question that this God is as advertised and does come through.  And especially in the sped advocacy work, "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord."  Which certainly reminds me that in that case I'd best be very honest and upright with everyone, doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.  Even if I can win without God being around, and that's hardly likely, it's emptiness.  It's futile.

There's good reason not to look for prosperity in this world this year.

As the new year 2015 comes in, it looks so far much like 2014 only worse.  The 1% will doubtless continue to grab it all for themselves as they have been doing so well with the help of their enablers such as George Bush and Barack Obama.  The fracking bubble and the stock market bubble will go on a while longer, but who knows how long?  All bubbles pop, since the tulip bubble of 1637 on up, but who can tell when?  Can they use that next crash as an excuse to enrich the same thieves as Bush and Obama conspired to do at the end of 2008, or is sovereign debt so much worse now that it won't work that way this time?  Stay tuned.

The evil clowns that govern us are stoking up tensions with Russia over Ukraine.  Maybe they expect the Russians to cave.  Can they be that stupid?  Have they forgotten that Russia endured 20 million dead to stop the Germans, and they expect Russia to knuckle under to some economic pain?  Does anyone think that if Russia, China, or some other hostile power intent on cutting the US down to size contrived to overthrow the Canadian government, installed a neo-Nazi regime, and drove several hundred thousand Canadians into the United States, the United States would let that stand?

Various jurisdictions have made it crystal clear that police officers will not under any circumstances be held accountable when they lynch young black guys on the street for trivial reasons or no reason - and a very large proportion of American white people approve.  How smart is it just now, as the economy approaches another collapse, to show 12% of the population that it is considered subhuman and undeserving of the basic respect due to all human beings?

In addition, several hundred thousand young men have been sent to far-off places to commit bloody crimes, or at least to condone them in others.  They have been traumatized, and when brought back home, have been cheated out of the care they deserve and often dumped on the street.  And these have all been trained in counter-insurgency (and therefore in insurgency), often having guns and definitely knowing how to use them, in an economy that has no use for them.  Have these adventures abroad, and the creation of such a class of men, really been a good idea?

But to me the most alarming thing is not these bad things in the world.  Our most serious problem is the utter apostasy of professing Christians.  That's not new.  The non-negotiable essentials for American Christians, and especially evangelicals, have always been to be conformed to this world, to be respectable in its eyes.  For this reason, American Christianity has always been good at crusading against drunkenness or other things that the world finds disreputable, but whatever the world approves, whether mass murder, imperial violence, white supremacy, or - at the moment, homosexuality - US Christians can never resist.  Thus the disciples of Jesus, professing to be at least, who are called by him the light of the world, never choose to be so, since to be the light always demands that we reject lying and walk in the truth, and that always involves persecution by the darkness, starting with the darkness in ourselves. 

This, as we drift into 2015, is why the darkness is very great, and we are in serious trouble.  My advice to my fellow Christians now is not to be concerned with religious activities, but to make sure that you can call upon the living God and find him in your daily affairs.  In a world of lying, are you capable of recognizing and letting go of your own love of lying in specific ways each day?  And figure that if the world around you doesn't see you doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God, then that has not yet happened. 

As others have noted, it's getting to feel in the United States like the last half of the 1850s.  One way or another, difficult times are coming.  Maybe a really thumping economic crash and attendant social turmoil will be delayed through 2015, maybe not.  I'm certainly no good at timing such things.  But it is time to get real.

Desmond Tutu used to say in South Africa that everyone in this country is in favor of change, so long as everything can stay the same.  Well, whatever happens, it's not going to stay the same much longer.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Guest Post - Tim Wise

Tim Wise can't be topped for good sense today, so I make way for him:

Original here, but reproduced below for your convenience.  A Christian will be reminded that Jesus didn't get nailed on wood for being nice:


This past week, Chris Rock noted in an interview that although racism remained a real and persistent problem, he was glad to see that America is now producing the nicest white people in its history.

Perhaps. But if so, this only suggests the pitiable limits of niceness and its utter irrelevance for the production of something approaching justice, or for that matter even insight. And if so, it may merely signify how far we had to come out of the pit of whatever one takes the opposite of nice to be: mean, nasty, cruel, selfish, and so on. In short, it’s pretty thin gruel in the pantheon of praise, however sincerely Rock may have meant it.

One can be perfectly nice, after all, and still fail to see that which is right before you, staring at you from the computer screen as you watch Eric Garner killed on the streets of Staten Island with an illegal chokehold. The officer who applied that pressure to Garner’s neck might himself be “nice” in the sense that he is kind to old people, babies and animals. Likewise, the grand jury that decided yesterday not to indict him for any crime might well have been filled with nice people, who send get-well cards to sick friends and relatives, participate in Secret Santa at work and volunteer at the local food bank. And what of it? Their niceness did not, clearly, provide them with the gift of comprehension, as they managed to watch an officer kill a man who posed no threat to him whatsoever—no reaching for his gun, even in some paranoid fever dream, no charging him like a bull, or as Darren Wilson put it to justify his killing of Mike Brown, like “a demon.” Their niceness came laced with nothing so helpful as empathy as they watched a man choked to death, gasping for air, all because he had been selling loose cigarettes on the street and dared to tell the officers to leave him alone when they decided to harass him for that most serious of crimes.

Their niceness, however real it may be in some abstract sense, means nothing. It will neither bring Eric Garner back nor prevent the deaths of more just like him. So too, I suspect there may be at least a few nice white folks on that grand jury outside of Akron that refused to indict the officer who killed John Crawford a few months ago in the Walmart there. Among their number may well have been at least a few white folks, for instance, who have nursed a wounded bird back to health or taken soup to a shut-in. But from this possibility, we are supposed to conclude what, exactly? Perhaps only this: that nice people can watch cold blooded murder on video—a video that completely contradicts what the officer said about the incident, and also gives the lie to the claims of the possibly nice white man who first alerted police to Crawford’s presence in the store—and still see nothing at all in the way of a crime. Clearly whatever part of the brain controls niceness is not remotely connected to one’s optic nerve, so let us at least make note of this for future reference.


So too, the cop who killed 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and then lied about it—a lie we can all be quite sure of because that killing too is on tape—might well have once adopted a rescue pet, or donated $500 to a women’s shelter, or coached little league and treated his players well, even when they struck out with the bases loaded, thereby costing the team the big game. And those who will seek to rationalize that killing (and oh yes, there are plenty who do), might be nicer than say, a sadist like Bull Connor, or Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam—the killers of Emmett Till, for whom the word nice would have been scarcely appropriate—and yet, again, one wonders about the value of such an accolade in times like this? That many whites are nicer today than those who regularly strung black men up from trees is an incredibly low peg upon which to hang one’s hat. And let us not forget, even those white men had wives who quite nicely, one suspects, made sweet tea and chicken salad for the lynchings perpetrated by their husbands. No, nice is less than meaningless.

In fact, I’m starting to wonder if nice might actually be the problem.

Nice is like a set of noise canceling headphones, which disallows those possessed of it from hearing the cries of others suffering under the weight of injustice. Nice is precious, nice is content, and nice does not want to hear of pain. Niceness cannot brook anguish because anguish disturbs the sleep of the just.

Nice is like one of those aromatherapy masks you can get at a day spa. It slips right over the eyes and lulls you into a state of relaxation with the pleasant aroma of lavender. Nice is a soothing massage, a warm cup of tea, or Enya.

Nice is the blue pill from the Matrix—the one Morpheus offers to Neo, which Neo does not take but most white folks have—and which allows us to remain oblivious to the world and how that world is being experienced by those who have had no choice but to ingest the red pill, simply so as to understand what the hell is happening in their own lives.

Nice is the enemy of justice because to raise one’s voice against oppression is to be instantly pegged as not nice, as disruptive, as unruly, as dangerous. To block traffic, or interfere with the all-important Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center is not nice. To interrupt the symphony orchestra in St. Louis, or the drunken revelry of nice white baseball fans at a Cardinals game is not nice. To signify sympathy for a murdered young man in Ferguson, with even a gesture as simple as raising one’s hands as you come out of the tunnel before the football game is not nice. It is, to some—who would rather just watch black men entertain them with a few nice interceptions—worthy of punishment, or professional discipline. How dare they, say the nice white people who paid good money to see black men play gladiator for the glory of the hometown team.

Nice people change nothing. They never have and they never will. Those who are nice are so invested in their niceness, in their sense of propriety and civility that they rarely raise their voices above a whisper, even in the face of sweltering oppression. Nice white people were the ones who didn’t own black folks during the period of enslavement but also didn’t raise their voices against the ones who did. Nice white people are the ones who didn’t spit on sit-in demonstrators but also had no problem spending money with businesses that had remained segregated all those years.

To be nice is to have an emotional stake in the prevention of one’s own pain. Nice people don’t like to look at the ugly. It’s upsetting, and most of all because it puts us on the hook and calls forth our humanity to actually put an end to that pain. Precisely because most people are good and decent and nice, they turn away from any evidence that the world, and their society is less decent than the sum total of its citizenry. It’s too much to take in. This is the irony of niceness: unlike persons with antisocial personalities or severe sociopathy who quite enjoy pain and suffering and often seek to cause it, those who are nice are so wrapped up in rainbows and lollipops as to make gazing upon the truth a bridge too far.


Nice people do not protest, angry people do; and right now, I’d trade every nice white person about whom Chris Rock was speaking for 100,000 angry ones. But not those who are angry at black folks or brown immigrants or taxes—we have more than enough of them. I mean 100,000 who are angry enough at a system of racial injustice to throw ourselves upon the gears of the machine, as Mario Savio once insisted. A hundred thousand angry enough to join with our brothers and sisters of color and say enough. A hundred thousand who are tired of silence, tired of collaboration, tired of nice, and ready for justice.

In short, and though I know it won’t strike you as, well, nice: fuck nice. And if you’re more disturbed about my language here than the death of black men at the hands of police, then know that you are the problem, and you’ve made it clear what side you’re on. It will not be forgotten.

Tim Wise is an antiracism educator and author of six books on race and racism. His website is www.timwise.org and he tweets @timjacobwise


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving

This season, I've had my fill of white people justifying the evident murder of a black kid in Ferguson, MO by a white cop, which outrages black people and anyone else with a clue -  not because it happened, but because it's routine, and so are the excuses presented for it.  When they're not making excuses in that way, they're focusing on the way some people have rioted - although I don't see them tongue-clicking and finger-wagging that way when fans riot for such weighty reasons as their team winning a superbowl.  Since that's regarded as good clean fun, I don't think the grave concern over people rioting in response to having it made clear to them that cops will never be held accountable for killing them without a cause is really anything but changing the subject.

Of course riots don't help, the same way that telling the spedhead in the IEP meeting to fuck off doesn't generally help either. I always discourage that style, teaching more effective advocacy. But those of us who have had some experiences in spedwo
rld should have no trouble understanding how we can be provoked to be that stupid.

You special ed parents see how it is when they rip off your kid, when they do outrageous and even criminal things to him and you know for certain that it will be difficult or impossible to hold anyone accountable. And the perps, doing this to your kid under color of authority, know that they have the support of their administrators to cover it up.

Now sit still a minute and grok how that feels.

Now consider what it's like for black people, who face this all the time and everywhere, not because it happens all the time, but it always may, and when it does, it's school district sly and the whole system will support it. How easy would you find it to play that right, knowing that it will never end, never be any different, that the majority around you will never get a clue, never have, and clearly don't want to?

As I reflected and wrote on these things the past few days, I understood that the way no one would listen to me when I suffered injustice as a little kid has given me the capacity to understand the elements of justice that we owe to black people.  I know on my own hide, intermittently, what black people endure all day, every day, and as a little kid I found even that slight and occasional injustice more than I could endure.  When I consider it, I don't know how black people have held it together in this place
for 400 years.

As I pondered these things, I saw that it's fitting for me to be thankful for these experiences.  They have enabled me to become somewhat human, not completely blinded and bewitched by my white privilege as most of my fellow white folks have proven in the past few weeks to be. 

And here's another thing.  By doing justice and speaking the truth in the past few days
about injustice to black people, I was made able to reprocess my own experience and become grateful for the instruction in justice and mercy that these traumatic things have given me.  Doing a little justice has helped me with some serious trauma in my life, teaching me gratitude in place of bitterness.

You never know what might happen when you do a little justice, but such healing is exactly what Isaiah 58 tells us to expect.  Try it a little yourself.  You'll be well compensated for putting up with the hatred of those who don't want to hear it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

November 11, once Armistice Day in which people celebrated the end of World War 1 and remembered how horrible and useless war is, was renamed Veterans Day in the US - though not elsewhere - and has become one of the high holy days of the religion of militarism.

Theologically, it is your standard pagan religion of human sacrifice.  Offer the holy blood of our children to the god, Molech or Baal Melkart, or in this case the national security state, and you will be blessed and prosper.  This holy blood ensures that we are safe and free.

All of this involves a lot of sentimental flattery of veterans, while carefully avoiding the reality that romanticizing their work in this way guarantees that more will be destroyed to no purpose in America's stupid and senseless wars without end.  How is that of any actual use to any present or future veteran that these devotees profess to love and honor?  Truly the proverb is fulfilled exactly upon veterans in this way: "A flattering tongue works ruin."

I was reminded today of how utterly impervious to reason the devotees of this cult are, and this made me realize in a new way what is at work here - survivor guilt.

Survivor guilt gets a lot of attention in the Bible, and rightly so, because it is one of the most powerful ways in which we are blinded by the fear of death.  Some examples:

- When Jesus told the apostles that he needed to die and that they could not follow, they just couldn't handle it.  First, they simply would not accept that it would happen.  "Far be it from you, Lord, that this should happen to you."  This led several times directly to arguments among them over who was the greatest.  And then when that truth could no longer be ducked, "Lord I will follow you to prison and to death!"  Which led directly to Peter forsaking Jesus and denying him.
- Moses survived only while other babies in his position died.  It's not clear, but that may have influenced his rescue of his fellow Israelite by killing the Egyptian.  Certainly his survival while his fellow babies died was something he had to look at.
- Jesus, too, lived only because Joseph had to take him out of town without warning other families of what Herod was likely to do to their babies.
- Before this, David in his own words occasioned the death of the priest Ahimelech and his entire family by showing up and getting help.  Saul's servant Doeg the Edomite was there, and as David said, "I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul."  David was unable to warn Ahimelech of his danger, but he knew what would happen, just as Joseph knew what would happen to the babies in Bethlehem.

We see here in Peter's case that survivor guilt, if not properly faced as David did, makes us absolutely stupid.  Mom says, "Eat, because children in Africa are starving," and this guilt trip works because the survivor guilt it creates makes the kid unable to ask how eating in the States when he's not hungry will keep anyone in Africa from starving.  His brain just turns off.

And this is an important part of why Americans simply cannot think when it comes to veterans.  These soldiers are occasionally killed, and quite often traumatized, in completely useless wars so that politicians - especially Democrats - can  show what big testicles they have,  so that war contractors can launder public money into their coffers, and to stir up trouble by the outrages that the American bombers and invaders commit so that the resulting blowback can justify more of the same.

None of this does a thing to make any of us safe or free, of course.  Had the US stayed out of Vietnam instead of going there and trashing the country while murdering around three million civilians, would the Vietnamese have robbed any American of his freedom?  If they had left Iraq alone instead of going over there and killing over a million civilians and driving millions from their homes, would we be any worse off than we are today?

All that this actually does is to cause our empire to be hated around the world, while giving our rulers ever more excuses to rob us of our freedoms and to plunder us for the benefit of the 1% who finance their campaigns and give them soft fat jobs when they leave office.  What in any of this does the average American have to be thankful for?

Bur survivor guilt makes the average American completely unable to even look at the obvious, never mind think it through properly.  Can this end well? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola lesson

The American people have gotten very excited about Ebola lately.

The objective threat is real, but for Americans not so dangerous at this point.  Ebola is not all that contagious, much less so than tuberculosis, which is also quite serious.  Ebola does not appear to be contagious until people actually begin to get sick.  We don't have to believe the authorities for this; if Ebola were contagious before symptoms, it would have been completely out of hand already.

Accordingly, Senegal and Nigeria both have had a few cases, but both nations seem to have completely stopped their outbreaks.  If Senegal and Nigeria can do it, the United States can probably manage.

But people have been inventing wild threats.  I see them saying that Hizbullah and ISIS is sending Ebola-infected people here to cause an epidemic.  Never mind that there is no Ebola in Lebanon, Syria or Iraq, and that a disease that is contagious only when you're sick is a poor choice of epidemic agents.  And other details, such as Hizbullah never having shown any interest in terrorist acts in the US.

In all of this, two things stand out.

One is that people simply don't trust the Centers for Disease Control and other government agencies to level with us.  This is the main reason for panic and for the failure of facts and reason to sober people up.  The reason for this is simple: our governments lie to us all the time about everything, and for all sorts of stupid reasons.  To get us into stupid wars.  To win the upcoming election.  To keep officials from being embarrassed.  When it comes to covering up and lying about it, the Obama regime has been worse than all before it.

Another is the cynical use of the epidemic to manipulate people's fears for short-term political gain.  In particular, the Republican Party sees nothing more important here than an opportunity to find fault with Obama, as though substantive complaints can't be found!  That's not taking things seriously. 

When people see that our rulers aren't taking serious things seriously, we don't feel safe.  We may differ on which party is worse on what issue.  But we all sense that we are ruled by evil clowns, even if we dispute  which ones are more clownish and evil.

All of this brings to mind the true proverb: "Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool; much less are lying lips to a prince."  And again: "Loyalty and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness."

Our rulers in every sphere despise this counsel, not only in government but in our churches, in our educational institutions, in our medical system that runs on pharma company propaganda and bribes, in our food industry oriented to ruining our health to make more money, and so much more.

Ebola is not a big deal in the US, and almost certainly never will be.  But it shows how untrusted and illegitimate our governing institutions are, since the things by which they are preserved - loyalty, truth, and righteousness - are heartily despised. 

How does each of us feel about the importance of these qualities in our own lives?