I read an interesting quote a few days ago.
“Flint is a conservative’s idea of smaller government”.
Boy does that resonate.
“The city, after years of cutbacks, was placed under a state appointed emergency manager in 2011 who had the power to appeal local decisions and make cost cutting a primary goal. That Manager, Darnell Earley blamed the City Council for switching from the Detroit water system, supplied by Lake Huron, to the Flint River (as a temporary source until a new system came online), but members of the council flatly deny this and local reporting cannot find reference to using Flint River water in council resolutions. However the switch was made, the result has been a calamity. For 18 months, Flint residents could see the problems with their water with their own eyes, but hidden from view was a worse disaster: the treated water was corrosive and leaching metals, including lead, from the aging pipes in Flint. ”
It took a pediatrician, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, to uncover the depth of the matter – with parents complaining about hair loss and rashes in their families, she pulled lead level records and found rates had doubled or tripled.
Now we have the scenario of a circular firing squad; each governmental agency blaming another for the fiasco although evidence of a serious problem with the drinking water was evident within months of the switch.
By Octover 2014 General Motors reached an agreement to switch water sources because the water from the Flint River was too corrosive to use in their engine manufacturing facility. GM’s water change came at a cost of $400,000 a year and had the approval of the emergency manager – even though the water continued to be piped into resident’s homes. Flint officials and the state appointed manager knew in October, 2014 that the water every person in Flint was drinking, including all of its children, was unfit for use in a factory. By the Summer of 2015 the lead levels were confirmed by researchers at Virginia Tech
But hey! Who cares? The residents of Flint are poor and mostly black. Buy bottled water. For the record, Flint is 57% black, 37% white, 4% Latino and 4% mixed race; more than 40% of its residents live below the poverty line.
“It’s hard for me to imagine the indifference that we’ve seen exhibited if this had happened in a much more affluent community,” said Democratic Representative Dan Kildee, who represents Flint. Meanwhile the Republican governor of Michigan stated flatly that the replacement of water infrastructure in Flint is “not imminent”.
Nice. I’m sure Michigan’s governor would have been impeached had this happened in Grosse Pointe.
In the last twenty five years this nation has seen a vast increase in wealth. The gross domestic product has risen from $8.9 to $15.8 trillion (adjusted for inflation); the Dow average opened at 2,810 in 1990 and closed above 17,000 last year. In 1990 there were 140 billionaires in the world, 44 of whom lived in the United States. Last year that list swelled to 1,226 of which 426 lived in America.
Mr Early is now the “emergency manager” of Detroit’s public schools where teachers are demonstrating against the deplorable conditions in public school buildings. How deplorable? Mushrooms are growing on walls at Vernor Elementary School.
Want to see more? Go here: http://bymystique.com/2016/01/18/detroit-kids-go-schools-filth-mold-mushrooms-rodents
“The reality here is both frightening and harsh, but there is a simple truth at the heart of it. If the citizens of Flint have been poisoned by their own water supply and if the children of Detroit attend schools that are decaying and full of mold and mushrooms it is because we have let it be so. The United States of America has never been collectively wealthier at any time in its history, but our commitment to the well being of all of us has not been this low since before the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt – and the distribution of wealth has not been this unequal since before the depression. We look at the total money spent on infrastructure and education and declare that it is “a lot” of money without bothering to ask what needs to spent to make certain that every child comes from a safe and healthy community and has a safe and healthy school to attend. That this question is not on the lips of every candidate for the Presidency is a stunning indictment of our current social order.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Earley held a press conference to denounce the teachers’ actions, and a Saginaw lawmaker called upon the state education authorities to sanction Detroit’s teachers.
The census bureau reports the U.S. poverty level stands at 14.8% and has been stuck there since the “end of the recession”. Poverty’s reach is not distributed evenly in society with African American and Hispanic citizens living below the poverty line at rates twice as high as White and Asian Americans – 21.1% of children aged 18 and younger live in poverty.
Median family income has fallen since 1999 as well as starting salaries. America has a staggering incarceration rate of 698 per 100,000 – a rate easily surpassing Russia and China, resulting dismal employment prospects and no ability to vote.
“Our current situation is one of choice at the expense of the future. A nation which pumps$4.8 billion in subsidies to oil companies alone does not have to do without clean water everywhere. We spend $11.8 billion a year on bottled water while our school buildings have mushrooms growing in them. The Pentagon continues to fund the F-35 fighter which is 7 years behind schedule and $167 billion over budget.”
Our politicians blame everyone but themselves and would never demand that their donors give a fraction more. After all, our pols are bought and paid for.
Twenty five years ago in his book “Savage Inequalities” Jonathan Kozol wrote of a 14 old black girl in East St. Louis and the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She startled Mr. Kozol by calling the reading of “I Have a Dream” perfunctory.
She explained her thinking: “We have a school in East St. Louis named for Dr. King. The school is full of sewer water and the doors are locked with chains. Every student in that school is black. It’s like a terrible joke on history.”
Indeed it is.