The Flint water crisis genie is out of the bottle. And all of King Snyder’s horses and all of his men, cannot put the genie in the bottle again.
At the end of Sunday night’s Democratic Debate, the moderators asked each candidate if there was a topic that was not covered during the debate that they’d like to bring up. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders chose to spend their final question time taking Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder to task for his complicity in creating the Flint water crisis and his incompetence in dealing with it.
“Well, Lester, I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged. We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways, and majority African-American, has been bathing and drinking in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn’t really care. He had requests for help that he basically stonewalled. I’ll tell you what: if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water, and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action.”
Sanders reminded everyone that, the day before, he called for Snyder’s resignation for his complicity and incompetence in the crisis:
“There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned. Thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead.”
For his part, Snyder tried to deflect attention, quickly responding on Twitter:
Political statements and finger pointing from political candidates only distract from solving the Flint water crisis.
— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) January 18, 2016
But it’s too late for deflection. Snyder and the Flint water crisis he created are now squarely on the national–and international–radar. The Rev. Jessy Jackson has called Flint a crime scene and has vowed to organize a march to call more attention to the crisis. Filmmaker Michael Moore, speaking from the steps of Flint City Hall, says this crisis is not a mistake:
“This is not a mistake. Ten people have been killed here because of a political decision. They did this. They knew.”
No, this genie is out of the bottle and she’s not going back in. But she is, in all likelihood, going to write the defining chapter on Rick Snyder’s legacy as governor of Michigan.