It’s a uniquely Michigan story.
To pinch pennies — saving $5 million, a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions in corporate tax cuts Rick Snyder and Republicans have handed out while slashing government services — a city had its drinking water switched and poisoned with lead by an autocratic “emergency manager” who was appointed by and only reported to the governor.
Then the people of Flint were lied to. They were lied to about the water they were drinking and they were lied to about why they were poisoned.
It could only happen here because this state has been the testing ground for a takeover of poor cities that Republicans would like to see as a template across the nation.
When the story became public, Snyder called it a failure of “bureaucracy” and sought to fix the real problem — his bad PR. He ignored the root cause of the crisis, refusing to admit that he’d circumvented democracy and the will of the voters to make sure he could get the cuts he wanted.
It became the nation’s story.
Because it was such an obvious atrocity, such a glaring example of a poor city — a city brutalized by de-industrialization and globalization and unaccountable conservative cost-cutting — the story even captured Cher’s attention. And because there was a Democratic presidential primary pitting two progressives elbowing each other out to show that they best represent undeserved communities, the story became the party’s story — a chilling example of the dangers of a racist disregard for the health and will of a black community and a siren’s call for investing money in rebuilding infrastructure.
Now the primary is over.
It’s been 160 days since Snyder admitted that Flint’s was water was poisoned.
You know Chris Savage, with his counter over there to the right, won’t let this go.
Dude is Snyder’s worst enemy — a progressive with compulsion for justice and a blog. Chris has published 78 articles thus far about the Flint’s water crisis, which now seems like the inevitable result of such disregard for the citizenship of so many Michiganders. We — and I include myself and anyone who has read this deep into this blog — have responsibility to keep this story alive and make sure that fixing the pipes is just the beginning.
I know it isn’t the only thing that’s wrong in the world. In every city, in every state, there are stories that must be told. But watch “Here’s To Flint: Documentary on Flint Water Crisis” from Michigan ACLU above and take a minute to note that this is going on now. Everybody knows it’s going on. The eyes of every politically active Democrat in the nation were on it for weeks.
This can’t be the end. Because if Flint was just a useful example, the shame will be ours.