Two Faces

We all wear masks. Usually, our masks are benign attempts at self-protection, to reduce our vulnerability to harm. But then there are the masks intended to deceive, to put you off your guard.

Politicians have always been users of the deceptive mask. In a representative democracy, some amount of masked deception is understandable. Politicians serve many masters, and must sometimes shave the truth in order the get the job done.

But today, we are surrounded by politicians whose face is permanently shielded by a mask of hypocrisy and disdain. Poll numbers rise the more a politician says outlandish and offensive statements. Conflicts of interest go ignored and fraud runs rampant.

And now, a Michigan city is paying the ultimate price for our two-faced government. Incompetence, greed and a careless disregard for people have resulted in the destruction of the water system for Flint, and the poisoning of its residents. Under the direct leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder, his appointed emergency manager made decisions resulting in corrosion of Flint’s water pipes and the subsequent lead poisoning of thousands.

Other officials reporting to the governor ignored warnings and direct research revealing the problem. And now, Gov. Snyder is sorry. Too bad, Flint. Oops.

Where is the outrage from our so-called “pro-life” legislators? State Rep. Gary Glenn cannot stomach the idea of a man loving another man, but stands mute when children’s brains are irreparably damaged by the state. State Sen. Jim Stamas cannot bear to hear the word “vagina,” but is quiet when pregnant mothers drink toxic water.

The nonchalance and general silence you hear from Lansing about this travesty should appall you. If your child drank poisoned water for more than a year, suffering permanent damage to cognitive ability, how would you respond? What would you demand of your legislators?

This governor has made Michigan a laughingstock among states with his utter disregard for democratic processes and his support of fraudulent backroom deals. It is time to remove the smirking veneer and reveal the evil beneath. The ball is in your court, Rep. Glenn and Sen. Stamas. Stand up for the lives of the people of Flint.

(originally published January 11, 2016)