Monday, February 8, 2016

The Lesson Flint Teaches No One

The recent events in Flint, Michigan should have taught us something important but it didn't. For nearly two years, the city was subjected to contaminated water. The residents knew this. The city council knew this. The federal authorities knew this. The government let these people down, this is undeniable. What seems incomprehensible is that the population continued to use the water in spite of the fact they knew something was wrong.

Simply presenting a petition means less than nothing when personal welfare is involved. Flint is a perfect example of people so dependent on government for their health and well-being that they are incapable of taking steps for themselves. They had abdicated authority over their lives and their children's lives to the state. They had become true subjects, not citizens. And the man who declared the water safe, Jerry Ambrose, was their lord.

Ambrose already had been advising his predecessors about the situation. Each of those three also resisted changes to the water quality. 

People will say "What could they do? They couldn't afford to move." True. But when Detroit offered to reconnect the water and waive the $4,000,000 connection fee they allowed Ambrose to deny the offer. They allowed one man to make a decision that subjected themselves and their children to deadly toxins and possible future health problems.

Flint is only one of what is probably dozens of instances of communities being victims of political ineptness and corruption. Most of the time it's crime at the center of city corruption and stupidity. Crime targets individuals for the most part, so society accepts it as part of life. However, when entire communities are affected society finally finds its conscience.

Unfortunately, conscience isn't enough. Politicians will do anything, hurt anyone, to maintain their power. The city council of Flint, Michigan and its emergency management office are perfect examples of this. They were more concerned with the city budget than with public welfare when they ignored a report that stated the Flint River water was unsafe without an improvement in the Flint city water treatment plant. And when it became obvious they had made a horrible mistake, they refused to admit it, even going so far as to file a fraudulent report to cover it up.

To date, only three people have resigned over this fiasco. The entire government administration of Flint should resign and be barred from political office for life. They should have to fend for themselves, look out for their own welfare...

Put themselves in the same place as they put the citizens of Flint.

But more than anything else, the citizens of Flint, and of every city in America, need to take steps to protect themselves and their families from the people who believe they are above the law. The mayors, the city councillors, the managers, the clerks... the people who sit on the other side of the benches and exercise power over the average joe.

They believe they have become the masters. We need to remind them the term is civil servant not civil master.