...but not a safe drop to drink in Flint, Michigan as President Obama visited the embattled city yesterday in order to let residents know that America will fix the problem.
Obama used his visit to the crisis-stricken city of 100,000 residents to promote the use of lead-removing faucet filters in an effort to bring some calm among residents distrustful of government.
“Although I understand the fear and concern that people have, and it is entirely legitimate, what the science tells us at this stage is you should not drink any of the water that is not filtered but if you get the filter and use it properly, that water can be consumed,” Obama said in a speech at Northwestern High School. “That’s information that I trust and I believe.”
But trust was in short supply among some Flint residents in the crowd of 1,100 that packed into Northwestern High School, many of whom booed Gov. Rick Snyder when he appeared before the president in an impromptu attempt to apologize for the public health crisis.
“When our filtered water smells like bleach, there’s no way possible it’s safe to drink,” said Lulu Brezzell, the mother of Amaryana Copeny, the 9-year-old girl known as “Little Miss Flint” who is credited with getting Obama to visit Flint. “There are so many more issues than just lead.”
Can you blame them? Republicans made sure government doesn't work in state after state, of course people don't trust local and state governments anymore when they can't provide clean water and other basic necessities.
Obama said the Flint water crisis is the result of a limited government ideology that is as “corrosive” as the city’s river water that caused lead to leach from aging pipelines.
In a veiled shot at Republicans who run Michigan’s government and Congress, Obama said the lead-contaminated water is the product of “a corrosive attitude that exists in our politics and exists in too many levels of government.”
“That attitude is as corrosive to our democracy as the stuff that resulted in lead in your water,” Obama told Flint residents.
Obama made the comments during a speech in the city on Wednesday, a few hours after he drank filtered Flint water after a briefing by federal officials on the city’s lead-contaminated water.
The president’s hour-long speech was sometimes comedic but mostly sobering. While the commander-in-chief is popular in Flint, he was mostly greeted with silence from the crowd when he encouraged them to drink filtered water.
At one point during the speech, Obama requested a glass of filtered water. A few minutes later, after the water had not arrived, the president coughed and said: “I really did need a glass of water. This is not a stunt.”
The president vouched for the safety of certified filters and encouraged most city residents to start drinking filtered water instead of bottled water.
The reality is that months, if not years after President Obama is out of office, American cities like Flint will still have massive infrastructure problems because Republicans assure we cannot and will not spend the money needed to fix the problem.