If you want a peek into what the future under a Republican government would be like, you need look no further than Flint, Michigan.
Six days after declaring a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder says he is not yet ready to request federal aid. In a statement made after signing an executive order to create a committee to “work on long-term solutions to the Flint water situation and ongoing public health concerns affecting residents,” Snyder said, “We have not made a specific request for assistance yet, but we’re in a dialogue with the federal emergency management people, talking to them about how we can best work together. This is a normal part of the process after we do a state declaration. It does take some time for us to put a request together for specific assistance, and we’re undergoing that process. It will take some time but we will get to that point. ”
Okay, first of all, this isn’t a situation. It is a crisis. Second, Governor Snyder and his ilk may have time, but the people of Flint don’t. If you come upon a drowning man, you throw him a lifepreserver; you don’t form a committee and argue about what kind of assistance you will render. Third, it isn’t like this is breaking news and a big surprise. The officials in the state of Michigan have known for nearly two years that the water in Flint was poison, but no one did anything about it.
Why is that? Census figures show that in a state that is predominantly white, Flint’s population is nearly 57 percent African-American. In a state where the median income is $48,411, the median in Flint is roughly half that at $24,834, and 41.5 percent of the residents of that city fall below the poverty level.
Perhaps in Governor Snyder’s world, the people of Flint are not worth worrying about. According to him, he had no idea the people of Flint were being poisoned until October 1, even though reports sent to the state showed lead levels were up immediately after the switch was made in April of 2014 to sourcing the city’s water from the polluted Flint River. Even if the governor’s statement were true, which is a really hard thing to swallow, October 1 was 3 1/2 months ago, and NOW he’s issuing his executive orders and forming his committees so they can “dialogue” about the problem in Flint. Meanwhile, the people of Flint, who have no money to buy that bottled water the governor says they should be drinking, still have to cook and shower and drink the toxic waste issuing from their faucets on a daily basis. That would be the the water they’ve been drinking and cooking with and bathing in for almost two years now. To me, this smacks of the Republican version of “Let them eat cake.”
In a city of about 100,000, they’ve distributed 12,000 water filters, performed 2,000 blood tests and done 700 tests on the water. Pretty piss poor response to a crisis that is literally destroying lives.
Flint, Michigan is a sort of microcosm of the Republican blueprint: get rid of regulations, ignore the effects of the abandonment of those regulations, and when caught doing it, deny you knew anything was wrong, and then offer a weak apology and begin a dialogue about what can be done. In the interim, the people affected continue to get sick and die because of gross malfeasance. But who cares about those people anyway? They’re just lazy takers who are too stupid and worthless to be of any value. And besides, once they’re all dead, we can take that land, raze those slums and build something to benefit the wealthy. Because those are the only people who count.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things.
Visit her at Ann Werner on the Web