If you break my eye socket and then tell me you want to perform the surgery to fix it, forgive me if I don’t believe you’re being sincere. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tried to tell the citizens of Flint that he will fix what he allowed to happen to their water. Fix what his decisions and indecision have fostered in the city of Flint. Fix what his outrageous Emergency Manager Law put in place. He set the tone for this situation to play out.
In normal conditions, when the state you reside in tells the city that is in need they are coming to end the circumstance that you find yourself in, you would rejoice. However, these are not normal times and trust has gone out the window. When the citizens of Flint pointed out that the water in the city was discolored and had a bad smell, the governor dismissed the citizens. When citizens who used the water received rashes and sores, the governor dismissed the citizens. When local groups tried to push back and say the water is unhealthy for the citizens to drink, the governor dismissed the citizens. When Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha did a study and found elevated lead levels in the children of the city, the governor dismissed the study. When Professor Marc Edwards, a specialist in water quality from Virgina Tech, came to Flint to test the water and found a high volume of lead, he told officials about the problem. The governor dismissed the professor, who wanted to protect the citizens. You can’t build trust when all your previous responses are dismissive.
At the end of the day, trust is earned and can’t simply be given away. It is lead by actions (no pun intended) that have the benefit of others in mind when decisions are made. It would seem that Governor Snyder, and those who report to him, were more inclined to watch the dollar and ensure that they were doing the least that the EPA required. This is not how trust is built, this is how trust is eroded. It would seem that when the issue came to life, the governor would have done everything in his power to fix the problem, but here we are two years into the crisis and he just started passing out water. There is no good reason for the citizens of the City of Flint to trust anything that comes out of the governor’s mouth. Because when the citizens cried out to him, to his staff, to his emergency manager, he never trusted them.
So Governor Snyder is ultimately responsible for the lives that have been impacted by this crisis. I hope when he tries to sleep at night, he remembers all the lives that he has harmed. I hope he remembers all the children that have been impacted by his decisions. I hope he remembers the problems these young people will face for the rest of their lives. Remember the citizens who you poisoned, for what reason I may never know.