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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Marco Rubio and Flint, Michigan--How To Tell Statesmen From Politicians

When my oldest was seven months, he tested positive for an elevated lead level in his blood. We lived in an old house at the time--I've lived in one old house or another, pretty much steadily, since I was eight years old. Like an idiot, I was removing the lead paint in our house. I thought I was safe, with a child not yet crawling. I was wrong. 

It's not fun testing a seven-month old for blood. I remember holding him down, as he screamed, before a nurse blew up one of those little white gloves, drew a face on it with a permanent marker, and waggled that at him for a bit. I've often wondered if my child's fear of needles comes from that time. 

I've often wondered if some of his neurological quirks come from then, too. Though they told us at the time that his lead level was borderline, they have since, I understand, changed the definition of borderline to--there is no safe level of lead in a baby or a child's blood. Period. 

And there is no cure--at all--for lead poisoning. 

Flint water
So when I heard about Flint Michigan's water problem, I felt--feel--literally sick. Light-headed. I do not understand why it hasn't been on the political radar before this. 
Flint pipes
People have been complaining---since April 2014,  of skin lesions, hair loss, chemical-induced hypertension, vision loss and depression. And that's just the short-term problems. The first official warnings to Flint came in December 2014. The Republican governor of Michigan asked Obama to declare a federal emergency and provide millions in federal aid just to buy residents water--not to fix the pipes and plumbing of every single house in Flint, which will wind up costing billions. 

Marco Rubio, photo by AP photographer Mary Altaffer
But Candidate for President Marco Rubio questioned about this yesterday, says, "I'd love to give you a better answer on it. It's just not an issue we've been quite frankly fully briefed or apprised of in terms of the role the governor has played and the state has played in Michigan on these sorts of things." He said, he was unable to give "a deeply detailed answer on what the right approach should be, other than to tell you that in general, I believe the federal government's role in some of these things is largely limited unless it involves a federal jurisdictional issue." 

I guess he'd rather talk about God, Guns, Smaller Government and Big Money than deal with his possible future constituents being murdered by the callous poisoning of their drinking water so as to save a few bucks. 

I know that's harsh, but you know what? Those kids, those people, their bodies and minds, will never, ever recover. Excuse me. I have to go and be sick. 

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