Barack Obama Goes To Flint, Promises To Lay Some Pipe

President Barack Obama spoke for nearly an hour Wednesday in Flint, Michigan, on the city's water crisis, reassuring residents that filtered water is safe to drink, encouraging them to get their children tested for lead, and promising that the state and federal government would provide help in replacing the city's water lines. Before Obama took the stage in front of a crowd of about 1,100 at Northwestern High School, Gov. Snyder attempted to speak, only to be met with sustained boos and shouts of "Go home!":

The crowd wasn't in a mood for conciliation, if you can imagine that. They yelled angrily when Snyder referred to the situation in Flint as a "short-term water crisis," and when Snyder said, "You didn't create this problem. Government failed you," many shouted back "You failed!" It was the first time since the water crisis began that Snyder had apologized to a public meeting in Flint. Maybe he should have tried that earlier on.

In his speech, Obama offered the astonishing thought that the purpose of government isn't merely to get out of the way of private industry getting rich, but to provide basic services to people. He praised eight-year-old Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, who's come to be known as "little Miss Flint," for writing to him to ask if she could meet him during March's congressional hearings on Flint, since she was taking a bus with her family to attend the hearings. Instead, Obama said Wednesday,

I would've been happy to meet her in Washington, but when something like this happens, a young girl should not have to go to Washington to be heard. I thought her president should come to Flint to meet with her.

Went over a lot better than Snyder did. After praising all the volunteer efforts to help the people of Flint, including union plumbers who came to install filters on faucets and a Virginia second-grader named Isiah Britt, who set up a website to buy hand sanitizers for Flint elementary schools -- his goal was to raise $500, but people donated over $15,000 -- Obama pivoted to his real point: The Flint crisis never should have happened if government had been working the way it should have, and while volunteers are wonderful, it shouldn't be up to volunteers to make a community work right:

This myth, that government is always the enemy, forgets that our government is us ... That attitude is as corrosive to our democracy as the stuff that results in lead in your water, because it leads to systemic neglect. It leads to carelessness and callousness [... ]

It doesn't matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, how well you raise your kids; you cannot set up a whole water system for a city. That is not something you do by yourself, you do it with other people.

Thankfully, there was nobody from Fox News to jump up and shout "You didn't build that!"

After coughing a little and asking for a glass of water -- which got big laughs and applause -- Obama continued with his crazy socialist notions about how government should work, again thanking volunteers for proving that when times are tough, Americans step up to help each other out.

But volunteers don't build county water systems, and keep lead from leaching into our drinking glasses. We cannot rely on faith groups to reinforce bridges and repave runways at the airport. We can't ask second graders -- even ones as patriotic as Isaiah Britt who raise all that money -- to raise enough money to keep our kids healthy. You hear a lot about government overreach ... Listen, it's not government overreach to say our government is responsible to make sure you can wash your hands in your own sink, or shower in your own home, or cook for your family. These are the most basic services. There is no more basic element to sustaining human life than water. It's not too much to expect for all Americans that their water's gonna be safe.

Obama finally got his glass of filtered Flint tapwater, and he assured them it wasn't a stunt. He went on to vouch for the safety of filtered Flint tap water (as long as you're not in one of the lucky houses still testing at toxic waste levels of lead), then pledged that Flint's corroded pipes would be replaced, although it may take as long as two years or more.

If only the same could be said about getting a replacement for the governor who caused this mess.

Also, for some reason, ever since watching Barry's speech Wednesday afternoon, we've had this song running through our head, so we figured it was only fair to share it:

[Detroit News / The White House / Detroit News again]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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