Now is the time for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to show himself the door — like today. Because at this point, resignation is about the best scenario for Snyder and for the poisoned city of Flint.
Contrary to what the governor has led the public to believe, there are new revelations that he knew a great deal about the Flint water crisis, and early on. In fact, emails show that Snyder knew about the increase in cases of Legionnaires’ Disease and the link with the poisoned swill of the Flint River used for drinking water since March 2015. There were 10 reported deaths of the disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia caused by bacteria contained in water vapor or mist that is breathed into the body. As Snyder and his lackeys were telling the public in Flint that the water was safe to drink, they were sitting on this crucial and devastating information until last month, which is when Gov. Snyder claimed he first learned.
Flint is a crime scene, and there is no denying it. And more and more, with even more evidence that the administration in Lansing knew about the water and toxins in the tap water, we are beginning to sniff out the criminals in this unspeakable act of violence against a predominantly black city. And we have to ask the question: Can anyone really trust anything that comes out of the man’s mouth at this point? Would you?
Snyder instituted an emergency manager system that smells a lot like a neocolonial system, where overwhelmingly black cities are taken over by the state, overriding the elected officials put in place by the voters. It was the emergency manager in charge of Flint, appointed by the governor and serving at his pleasure, who decided to save a buck and switch the city’s water source from Detroit to the filth of the Flint River — a water source so foul and corrosive that General Motors wouldn’t touch it because it ruined its auto parts. And yet someone thought it was fine for black children to drink and bathe in that water.
But that is par for the course of being African-American in a country that always subjected us to violence and harsh conditions and policies of neglect and hostility, where we always feared for our safety and the lives of our children. And today, those conservative politicians who do not like government are intent upon trying their experiments and cost-cutting austerity measures on folks of color, in the way that we were subjected to the Tuskegee experiment years ago and the polluting of our communities and our families’ bodies with toxic chemicals today. Flint is not alone, but it is ground zero and a textbook case of environmental racism.
And to make things worse, there are other, larger issues involved in Flint that need to come to the surface, such as the money that somebody is trying to make. As Michael Moore said this week in the Huffington Post, the wife of Snyder’s chief of staff Dennis Muchmore, Deb Muchmore, is a spokesperson for the Nestle Company, the biggest owner of private water in the state of Michigan. And Dennis Muchmore has been intimately involved in state decisions regarding Flint. Moore says that “Nestle has been repeatedly sued in northern Michigan for the 200 gallons of fresh water per minute it sucks from out of the ground and bottles for sale as their Ice Mountain brand of bottled spring water. The Muchmores have a personal interest in seeing to it that Nestle grabs as much of Michigan’s clean water was possible — especially when cities like Flint in the future are going to need that Ice Mountain.”
It is no wonder the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI are investigating the situation in Flint and treating it as a criminal matter. And it is easy to understand why Michigan Democrats want Snyder to resign and why Congressional Democrats want him to testify in Washington, while Republicans are protecting their boy.
Governor Snyder cannot become a part of the solution if he is the problem. However, he can make things much easier on the people of Flint if he removes himself from office and hands the government over to anyone but him. Certainly, the people of Michigan have learned their mistake in electing Rick Snyder, and they need leadership that cares about all people, including the poor and black folks of Flint. The current governor has proven that he lacks integrity and has squandered the public trust. Stick a fork in Snyder, because he’s done.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove