Flint Water Crisis
Well. The damage has been done. And right now, the people of Flint need lots and lots of support to get clean water till their regular water supply is restored. I do however hope that the effect of lead poisoning on their health (especially kids’) is minimal or in other words, not as disastrous as the initial studies projected.
The city of Flint has been going through the worst possible socioeconomic crisis for the past 30-40 years. And just as it was trying to bounce back in the past couple of years, this happens. Right now, unfortunately, it is hard to feel optimistic for the economic conditions (and thus the social conditions) there to improve. A lot depends on how quickly the water situation is “sorted out” for local businesses to give the city another shot.
Yes. It angers me like many normal citizens that this could happen in a developed nation and that too because of human negligence. Something that could have been avoided if not for human oversight and growing scientific ignorance. Absolutely unacceptable. After things got a bit out of control (largely due to national media getting a whiff of the dire situation), Gov. Snyder finally realized the magnitude of the problem. Or so it seemed. His PR team clearly kept him inside a cocoon for almost 7-8 months since the first signs of the lead poisoning story got out. Having said that, I do not believe, he would have made a conscious decision to either “poison the people of Flint” by switching the water source or “ignore the fact that they have been poisoned” after he found out how much lead there is. It was a matter of mismanagement and also perhaps a matter of the culture of governance, his administration was encouraging. I also feel he is the best man to fix this problem right now. Saw his interview on Fox 2 Detroit and it was clear that he was shaken by the effect of a bad decision on 100,000 residents of his state.
To call for his resignation is the easiest thing to do and that’s shortsighted. Yes, there is a huge political mileage one can get out of raising your angry voice against Gov. Snyder – but then if you really want to punish the people accountable for this crisis, it is not him. It’s a different matter that it is a politically correct thing for him to take full responsibility for the crisis, which he has done. Too little too late? I don’t know. For the sake of the people of Flint, I sure hope not.
But again, terming this a “racial genocide” is stretching it a bit too far and that reeks of politics, the kind we definitely don’t need during crisis. Some Democrats have already dipped their hands into this mess of politicizing the crisis and I hope they don’t make it uglier just because of Flint’s voter demographic. The last thing I would want is to see is Rev Jesse Jackson and the likes stirring up the emotions of an already bruised city.
On the other hand, it is very sad and very obvious that GOP leaders too want to politicize the issue for what it’s worth. So far, no GOP Presidential hopefuls have addressed this issue head-on and we all know why. Not once was this brought up during debates. Isn’t that appalling? That one of the two leading political parties in the country hasn’t shown a bit of human reaction to a national crisis of this nature…?? Again, I smell politics here only because GOP will gain nothing by helping out Flint, as that’s not going to change one bit as to how Flint will vote in the next election.
Here is Gov. Rick Snyder (his office) providing a timeline of events leading to Jan 16, 2016.
Clearly, a well “thought out” timeline, but also one that looks like it has been made by someone who doesn’t want to take all the blame.
(Image courtesy: Gov. Snyder)
As you would expect, The Daily Kos has found some missing dates/events in this timeline.
Closing thoughts: No matter how much you want to analyze or dissect what has happened, the focus now should be on fixing the problem first and then take a look at lessons learned, so that this disaster never reoccurs anywhere in the country.
Personally, my favorite article till now on this topic is this.
This article looks at the crisis from an organizational work culture standpoint.
Worth reading this, if you have time.