As calls for his resignation increase in the wake of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder apologized for the “catastrophe” that may affect the health of an entire generation.
“Your families face a crisis, a crisis you did not create and could not have prevented,” Snyder said while addressing Flint residents directly during his State of the State speech. “I am sorry, and I will fix it.”
Adding the government failed its people, he continued: “I’m sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know that the buck stops here with me.”
Snyder is right. People in the state who are suffering as a result of government indifference and incompetence indeed deserve better. Therefore, he must resign his position. It’s not like his exit would make things better at once, but, it’s the least he can do to demonstrate his sense of accountability.
It all began in 2014 when the city, under Snyder's orders, switched from the Detroit's water system with water Lake Huron to the Flint River, reportedly to save money — some $5 million. But the corrosive water was not treated and, over time, allowed harmful substances such as lead and copper to leach from the old pipes. Last October, after state government admitted it had failed to prevent water contamination, Flint switched back to Detroit's water system.
It was only after it was revealed that lead exposure could have irreversible effects on children, the state authorities woke up. Snyder declared a state of emergency and activated the Michigan National Guard to deliver bottled water and water filters to the thousands of people in need of clean water supply.
More recently, following his apology, Snyder said he had asked lawmakers for $28 million to fix the crisis that, according to Flint mayor could cost a staggering total of $1.5 billion.
Even though it can play a huge part, money for many people isn’t the bigger issue at hand. It’s accountability.
Political statements and finger pointing from political candidates only distract from solving the Flint water crisis.— Governor Rick Snyder (@onetoughnerd) January 18, 2016
know what else distracts from solving the Flint water crisis? Governor Rick Snyder completely ignoring the Flint water crisis @onetoughnerd— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) January 18, 2016
@onetoughnerd You caused this. YOU caused this. Take responsibility.— GidgetWA (@GidgetWA) January 18, 2016
"If I'd been responsible for this, I would have been fired," Bobbi Spiegler, a 65-year-old retired United States Department of Health & Human Services social worker told Detroit Free Press. "It's hard for me to justify him continuing in the job as governor."
But there aren’t just calls for resignations. Many others want Snyder to go to prison for poisoning children.
I hope you die in prison. @onetoughnerd— Steve M. (@nomoremister) January 18, 2016
Even though Snyder says he isn’t resigning because he doesn’t want to run away from the problem, he must be held accountable for the damage that has already been done to the people of Flint.