What I learned from Flint

Flint Michigan has been in the headlines of Local, National and International press for weeks. The reason is because, some folks who knew and some who didn't poisoned and potentially killed Flint residents. Many who don't like the Republican Governor have shaken their fingers and said, see, that's why you don't want to run government like a business. And the other side just wanted to blame the EPA or a government agency. There is some truth to both arguments but I think there is a larger point that everyone is missing.

I spent many years at Wayne State University getting my degree in Public Affairs. One of the major things that I have learned is that one of the most misunderstood terms that people throw around is "Career Politician". What I hear is, "We don't want qualified pencil pushers". Let me explain. Both Barack Obama and Rick Snyder are very similar in their complete lack of political experience. In fact, Obama had more than Snyder, albeit not so much. When you have relative newbies to the political scene in Lansing or Washington, it comes with a lot of mistakes. These mistakes come in the form of political appointments.

Political appointments are not a dirty word. These folks whether you like it or not, are what keep your water running, literally. Without knowledgeable and experienced political folks, things can go disastrously bad. Nationally, we have seen this play out, but that is for another time. Lest people think that I am blaming President Obama for anything that happened in Flint, I am not. The buck and blame must be placed with the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. He is to blame, based on the ineptitude of not knowing the system, the business.

Government is a business. It is has its own particulars and nuances. Understanding these, is crucial to running it properly. That is why some of the seemingly more successful politicians were not always the cleanest of person or character. Political appointments done for the sake of scratching your friend's back, does not work in the real world. The real shame of the Flint malfeasance is that it was all preventable. Government must be run like the business that it is. It needs people in seats that understand what is happening and how to deal with the issues that come up. It needs the pencil pushers with knowledge of the material and the system. And the voters must realize that while the political labels matter in the general sense, competency and political experience is a must.