The governor and his agency heads who caused the sudden appearance of lead and other toxics in the water that the families of Flint drank and showered in for a year and a half are even more disgusting than the water itself. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, a laissez-fairyland corporate ideologue, supported the switch of Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the cheaper stuff in the contaminated Flint River, claiming that this could cut some $2 million from the city’s budget. Never mind that the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from the city’s pipes into the water that every resident uses. For more than a year, Snyder and his agency heads denied that this might pose a health problem, even mocking locals who complained about the foul liquid coming out of their taps.
Recently, however, a citizens group called Progress Michigan uncovered internal documents from Snyder’s budget department revealing that in January of last year the agency’s honchos were so alarmed by Flint’s toxin-laced H2O that they supplied coolers filled with bottled water for their employees in the Flint office. Yes, Snyder’s budgeteers were not about to drink that poisonous stuff themselves.
A January 2015 advisory from the budget agency’s headquarters assured the Flint office that pure bottled water “will be provided [on each floor of the Flint office] as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.” This cynical, self-serving move came a full year before nationwide public outrage finally forced Snyder to provide safe bottled water to the regular people of Flint.
The Flint water scandal is a perfect expression of the right-wing mentality of self-entitlement. To them “public service” means elites serving themselves — the actual public be damned.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.