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Flint Is My Katrina

by Jayef Kennedy (Principles: Ask Not) - 3 year ago

Does the Flint catastrophe once again reveal the deadly bankruptcy of the Republican philosophy of government?

Michigan Governor Snyder’s  statement that “Flint is my Katrina” should be taken for exactly what it is – a devastating indictment of the Republican Party’s approach to government.

Readers who are not familiar with the details of the Flint catastrophe are encouraged to find out from a neutral source. Details are still emerging but what is clear is the following:

1) The state of Michigan made a decision to temporarily use untreated water from the Flint River as the city’s main water source.

2) As a direct result, the water pipes were compromised and lead began leaching into the water supply.

3) For months, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) ignored warnings from healthcare professionals and scientists about the developing crisis.

4) The Governor of Michigan is a Republican and he appointed all of the officials who contributed to this disaster.

An obvious question is why did Michigan use untreated river water when the science about it’s impact on pipes is clear. Another question is why would the DEQ not only ignore, but impugn the integrity of scientists and healthcare professionals who were trying to alert them to the problem.

Similar questions were asked during Katrina about why the Bush administration would appoint a second-rate lawyer to head the department in charge of saving the lives of Americans when natural (and man-made) disasters hit.

The answer to all of these questions is the same. Republicans simply don’t believe in government and, as such, they are far more likely than Democrats to emphasize political considerations in their appointments. In some cases, they hire industry insiders who quietly refuse to enforce regulations. In others, they don’t even bother to look at credentials before using appointments as political patronage payoffs. They see this as win-win. If the political appointments prove to be incompetent, it’s just one more bit of evidence that “government doesn’t work.”

But the deaths of hundreds in New Orleans and the potential lead poisoning of thousands of children in Flint, shine a bright light on the bankruptcy of that philosophy. And, with Katrina, Republicans paid a huge price. They were swept in the 2006 congressional elections, received nearly all of the blame, perhaps unfairly, for the 2008 financial meltdown, lost the Presidency in 2008, and handed a supermajority in the Senate to Democrats – which lead directly to the passage of Obamacare.

I believe that Flint has the potential to be just as damaging to Republican prospects for precisely the same reason. It shows that government must work if public health is to be protected and a party whose core philosophy is that "government cannot work", cannot be trusted with safeguarding the health of our citizens.


Comments and Responses (1)

By  Hickory Jackson - 3 year ago
Your Katrina analysis conveniently (for your theory) leaves out the fact that if state and local governments had properly done their jobs, then hundreds of lives would have been saved. The city's slow response to the advancing storm caused many people to be trapped in the city who should have been able to get away. Further, without proper coordination from the state authorities, the Feds were operating in the dark. The governor of Louisiana was incommunicado because somehow she didn't have the foresight to have a satellite phone. And let me add one random fact. The state and local authorities were Democrats.
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is relevant to the discussion. (Commenter's rating is increased.)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : And of course, Republicans are now saying that Flint was a "failure of government at every level." Predictable. But here's the difference: The voters who elected the incompetent leaders of Louisiana and New Orleans did not deliberately elect incompetent leaders. On the other hand, the Bush administration deliberately appointed an incompetent official to run FEMA. That's how they prove that "government is a failure." They never dreamed that even Fox News would call them out for it.