The moment has come for everyone to stop shouting and pull together to help the people of Flint. The water crisis demands a concentrated and cooperative effort from all who profess to care about the city and its residents.
Angry protests and mass demonstrations served the purpose of putting pressure on the Snyder administration to act with urgency.
But now, the energy should turn to meeting Flint’s needs. We were glad to hear President Obama express his empathy on Wednesday; earlier in the week he appointed a coordinator to work with federal agencies to support the city.
Fortunately, a good number of individuals and organizations across the state are already pitching in, helping to buy water filters and bottled water. Getting drinkable water to Flint has become a statewide, and even a national cause. That’s a positive response. What is less useful are the angry personal attacks and the politicization of this issue. Gov. Rick Snyder in his State of the State address Tuesday accepted responsibility for the disaster.
There’s no point in a chorus of voices constantly repeating what the governor has already said: He and his administration screwed up.
It’s also senseless to demand that Snyder resign. It’s not going to happen, and shouldn’t. As the guy to blame for the mess, he has the greatest interest in cleaning it up. And the plan he laid out in his address suggests he is now prepared to act with urgency to get the job done.
Making this an issue in the presidential campaign also serves little purpose, beyond grandstanding. The problem in Flint has been recognized, and is being addressed.
The people in Flint have every right to be angry, and shouldn’t be expected to lovingly embrace a governor who failed them. But it is important that their confidence in the ability of the state to help them is restored. That was much of what Snyder was trying to do Tuesday.
Nothing is gained by having the likes of Michael Moore, who by the way is promoting his new film, fueling the anger and distrust by dropping into the city with claims that the poisoning of Flint’s water was intentional. Nor by Hillary Clinton’s contention that it was allowed to happen because Flint is a majority black community.
As for calls that Snyder committed a crime and should be charged, the validity of those allegations should be determined by separate investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the state Attorney General’s office.
In the meanwhile, the passion surrounding the Flint crisis should be channeled into helping Flint recover. That goes beyond bottled water deliveries. The tainted water has made the challenge of rebuilding Flint’s economy even harder. The city needs jobs and residents.
Any ideas for demonstrating faith in Flint’s future are welcome, as are any hard investments. The Legislature has found very little opportunity for bipartisanship. Flint should be one of them. Political calculations should be set aside and the sole focus should be effectively using state resources to fix the damage and assure the victims are cared for in the future.
Flint should not become a political football. Michigan should commit to cooperation on behalf of the people of the city.