The ACLU of Michigan just released a must-see short documentary on the Flint water crisis. It’s important that this not be forgotten even as the scandal has died down and eyes are moving off Michigan now that the Democratic debate and state primary have passed.
This piece is powerful because it’s told by the local citizens who were abused (and this is not an overstatement) by emergency managers who were instructed to prioritize making bond payments. Even though readers may know many of the elements of this story from the extensive media coverage, it has a completely different impact not simply seeing it put together in one place, chronologically as it unfolded, but witnessing the appalling record of official efforts to deny that there was a problem (including deliberately constructing completely unrepresentative tests) and repeatedly telling flat out lies. It’s also not hard to discern that the emergency managers, their allies, and the state government held the Flint citizens in utter contempt. The class/race bias and condescension are palpable.
The documentary is also a testament to the persistence of the efforts of Flint citizens in mustering allies (such as the ACLU as well as the environmental engineers at Virginia Tech) to develop rock-solid evidence of the contamination of the water and publicize the developing public health crisis. The fact that the city’s overlords and state officials thought they could get away with what amounts to poisoning of a population this large is another symptom of elite insularity.
Again, this is a relatively short video given the ground that it covers. I hope you’ll view it and circulate widely.