It's debatable if Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is entirely or partly responsible for the ongoing water crisis in Flint. But praising or lauding him for stepping up after the damage was already done is downright outrageous.
Applauding Snyder for his response to the water contamination, Jeb Bush said he admired the embattled governor for “stepping up right now."
"He's going to the challenge,” the Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s State of the Union. “He's fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this. Instead of saying, 'The dog ate my homework, it's someone else's fault,' once it became clear, he's taking the lead now. That's exactly what I think leaders have to do."
Though not really shocking coming from Bush, the sentiment is absurd and, to a great extent, offensive to the people who are suffering as a result of the incompetence shown by Snyder’s administration.
The problem, after all, began under Snyder’s orders in 2014 when the city switched from the Detroit's water system with water Lake Huron to the Flint River, reportedly to save some $5 million.
According to an exclusive report by the Daily Beast, the Flint River was rejected as the city’s permanent water source in December 2012. But 16 months later — quite abruptly — the same, highly corrosive water was deemed OK by the Snyder administration.
Even worse was the state’s delayed response to the problem.
It was only after a pediatrician revealed that lead contamination in Flint’s water could have irreversible effects on children that the authorities sprang into action.
Snyder declared a state of emergency and activated the Michigan National Guard to help provide bottled water to thousands of people in need of clean supply. He also apologized — while partly blaming “bureaucrats” — for the disaster before releasing a set of his personal emails to show how irresponsible Michigan leaders were in regards to Flint's water crisis.
But nothing can reverse the damage that has been done.
If Snyder is holding himself accountable for the crisis, it is because he is indeed responsible for the crisis — not because he is a hero who is not afraid to admit he is wrong, as Bush so appreciatively suggested.
An entire generation’s health in the city of Flint has been put at stake and the person who is largely responsible for doing that certainly does not deserve any kind of praise.