Auchter's Art: Today's good intentions brought by unnecessary sacrifice | Michigan Radio
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Auchter's Art: Today's good intentions brought by unnecessary sacrifice

Aug 10, 2018

It's heartening to see the reaction to the per-and-polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known collectively as PFAS, found contaminating the water supply of Parchment, Michigan. 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality appears to be engaged and vigilant. The governor and lieutenant-governor seem to be listening and involved. The local governments are actively working together, including the city of Kalamazoo quickly extending its water system.

Sure, it's not perfect. It can't be. Not with this many people and groups of people involved. The fact that the contamination exists is testament to our uneven track record in managing consequences. The city of Parchment was created to manufacture paper, after all, not to ensure the water remained pristine.

But now, this current set of people seem intent on doing the right thing. The mess needs to be fixed. Health and lives need to be protected. That is commendable.

Still, the real reason why intentions are so good can be directly linked to the Flint Water Crisis. Without that obvious (and continued) failure, there is no doubt Parchment would be enjoying a much lower level of attention.

So as is often the case, the biggest heroes are not necessarily the ones who are doing the right things — they're the ones who have made the biggest sacrifice, despite it never being their intention.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.