The Flint water crisis is being condemned by both the left and right on the political spectrum. Progressives, such as filmmaker Michael Moore and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have both criticized Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s handling of the situation and called for his resignation. (Moore said Snyder needs to be arrested.) They have been joined by some unusual allies. According to The Detroit Free Press, the Genesee Militia has also criticized the government’s handling of the Flint water crisis.
Militia organizations are usually associated with right-wing, anti-government views. In fact, the Genesee Militia has expressed support for Oregon militiamen, who are currently occupying a federal wildlife reserve in Burns, Ore. However, like Moore, they feel the government has failed the people of Flint.
“What happened here is a crime,” said Dave McKellar, a spokesperson for the militia.
The Genesee Militia also staged an armed rally Sunday and offered to protect the community.
“We’re here to defend this community,” said Matthew Krol, the militia’s executive officer. “We’re not going to allow [the government] to step on the people of Flint any longer.”
Although the militia might fear government overreach, the government has actually being providing a lot of assistance to Flint. The National Guard and police have been giving bottled water to residents, who are afraid to drink Flint’s lead-contaminated water. President Barack Obama has also responded to a request from Snyder and declared the area a federal disaster eligible for aid.
The situation is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and could possibly lead to criminal charges. According to ABC News, the investigation is being headed by former Wayne County prosecutor Todd Flood and retired Detroit FBI chief Andrew Arena.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette promised a comprehensive investigation.
“The tragedy of Flint is a tragedy of immense proportions,” said Schuette. “This investigation will be thorough, exhaustive and independent.”
Snyder’s administration has been widely condemned for the water contamination. Snyder-appointed emergency managers have been blamed for the decision to switch from the Detroit water system to the contaminated Flint River. Snyder has also been accused of failing to take quick action on the crisis, which he became aware of in February 2015.
Even though Snyder is accused of covering up the crisis and could face criminal charges, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush apparently thinks he is doing a good job.
“I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now. He’s going to the challenge, and he’s fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this,” said Bush in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
Bush is not known for his sound political judgment. He has said he plans to ask his brother, former President George W. Bush, to campaign with him because he was “still popular.” But George W. Bush’s presidency, which saw two ongoing wars, a housing crash and legalized torture, was largely the reason Republicans lost the White House in 2008. The public was so frustrated they were willing to vote for anyone but Bush.
“A campaign that emphasizes that Bush could become the third man with his last name to sit in the Oval Office may not have much appeal,” according to Washington Post writer Janell Ross.