The people of Flint are pissed off, and they have every reason to be. What dithered for over a year as a local story has finally hit prime time thanks to talking heads like Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore‘s campaign to #ArrestGovSnyder, which gathered 85,000 signatures in just days.
For anyone unfamiliar, Governor Rick Snyder’s appointed ’emergency manager’ to Flint (who’s authority overrides elected council) switched the drinking water supply from Detroit/Lake Huron to the Flint river.
The river is highly polluted, but that’s not the worst of it.
The river is high in saline, which corrodes existing lead pipes. An anti-corrisive agent could have been added to the water to prevent lead from leaching into the water for as little as $100 a month. But this wasn’t done, as the stated purpose of Snyder’s ’emergency managers’ was trimming essential social services where ever possible.
WTF IS GOING ON W/POWER MAD,GREED DRIVEN,KILLER, INCOMPETENT,POLITICIANS?THEY R CRIMNALS?? GOV.RICK SNYDER OF MICH. #FIRINGSQUADWORKSFORME
— Cher (@cher) January 6, 2016
Already state department heads like Michigan DEQ director Dan Wyatt have resigned. Calls for Snyder to step down for incompetence have been overshadowed by calls for his arrest for criminal neglagence.
Over the last few weeks, reporters have grilled the squeaky-voiced Republican over what’s appearing more and more like a cover up of the lead poisoning, which was first called to attention as early as May of 2014, but wasn’t switched back to a safe source until October of 2015.
This week the Governor announced the deaths of 10 Flint residents from Legionnaire’s disease. These deaths are currently being investigated as stemming from the lead contamination.
At a nearby church about a dozen speakers representing various groups and themselves informed an audience of protesters of of the status of ongoing efforts to bring relief to Flint, as well as pending litigation against the state, the governor, and an upcoming recall petition of Rick Snyder.
After this, the crowd marched to the capitol building, filing in two by two, chanting out ‘Snyder has got to go!‘, as well as ubiquitous lines demanding ‘Justice Now!‘
As this was the first day of the year’s legislative session, attempts were made to enter the chamber floor, but security blocked the crowd. A second attempt was successfully made to enter the gallery one floor above, but the protesters were warned no chanting would be tolerated, and all would have to remain seated. Some in the crowd did just that, but many remained outside the doors.
A few minutes in chambers and chanting did begin again as the crowd started exiting and heading for the multi-floor rotunda. Here protesters chanted for several minutes, their cries and stomping thundering throughout the massive capitol building.
Eventually, more announcements were made about upcoming rallies, including the approaching State of the State address. From the depth of the crisis in Flint, and the level of anger and discontent in the crowd today, it’s clear this issue won’t be resolved soon.
From the capital to Flint itself, there seems a tremendous amount of energy to topple this embattled governor and ensure no politician is ever allowed to recklessly poison a municipal water source again.