Berry: Your government solves the Toledo water emergency!Written by Thomas Berry | | email@example.com
A severe algae bloom and the lack of strong southwest winds to dissipate it across Lake Erie has allowed dangerous toxins to enter the City of Toledo’s water system. The City’s antiquated water treatment plant is unable to prevent the contamination, and Toledoans are warned not to drink or even touch the water. Residents of municipalities and townships across the region that had been strongarmed into buying Toledo water rather than developing their own supplies are also under the warning.
Seeing an opportunity to not let a crisis go to waste, President Obama takes bold action that is typical of his presidency. Speaking from the first tee of his fortieth round of golf of the summer, he devotes 30 seconds to the crisis. He promises not to rest until Toledo and surrounding communities have safe drinking water and blames the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for the algae bloom, then spends 30 minutes telling jokes and giving shout-outs.
Returning to the White House a week later at the end of this, his sixth vacation of the year, a well-rested President Obama issues an executive order for the expenditure of roughly $1 billion to provide safe drinking water to Toledo. The expenditure includes a $500 million no-bid contract awarded to a Canadian firm run by old family friends to construct a website. The site crashes as soon as the first Toledoan logs onto it, and after blaming Republicans for the site’s failure, he orders that another $500 million be paid to his backers in the Silicon Valley to do it right. Once it is finally operational, the one-page site briefly urges visitors to drink more water while automatically registering them as Democrat voters.
The president sends Vice President Biden to Toledo to rally public morale and instill confidence in the government’s intelligence and competence. Biden declares, “Toledoans can count on us to say a four-letter word: W-A-T-R!”
$300 million from the original executive order is earmarked for numerous businesses and unions that helped Obama win the presidency. A couple of these organizations are actually paid by the order to provide water to Lucas County residents. Hundreds of part-time jobs are created as the government orders the bottling of water that meets its strict specifications and has it trucked to Toledo.
Congress passes legislation without reading it that orders all Toledo water customers to buy only water bottled by the U. S. government’s contractors, even after the contamination ends. Businesses protesting this monopoly are fined into bankruptcy, and their owners are branded in the news media as haters and racists for criticizing the president. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Kaptur promises that water rates will not go up and that we will get to chose what water we want to buy, so long as it is U. S. government water.
The City of Toledo sets up distribution points citywide for the government water, then awards no-bid emergency contracts for years-delayed resurfacing and bridge repairs to all streets leading to the distribution points, closing these streets.
As soon as repairs are complete, President Obama flies to Toledo for a tour of the distribution points in a 57-car motorcade that halts all public access to the points. His last stop is Maumee Bay State Park, where he wields a pen and telephone at the algae-infested water and, in the spirit of his 2008 victory speech in which he promised that the sea level would fall because of his election, orders the algae to recede.
When the algae only continues to grow, Obama blames Republicans for the algae’s obstinance. Told that agricultural runoff feeds algae, he orders an immediate halt to all agricultural activity within Republican Congressman Bob Latta’s district.
The EPA orders the City to remove the toxins, even if technology to do so doesn’t yet exist. The City allocates the remaining funds from the executive order to pay for a series of five-year studies to assess the problem, then to assess the results, then to assess the reassessment. During the third round of reassessments, City Hall partially collapses into a sinkhole created by the failure of a major water main that was built in the late 1800s, recontaminating the water.
On arrival in Toledo, the entire shipment of government water is rejected when it is found to be salt water that somehow got past the government’s highly trained inspectors.
Far-fetched? Somewhat. The first two paragraphs are fact. Most of the rest is based on actual events in other situations. This whole saga is sadly reflective of how incompetent our government has become. As the saying goes: What can possibly go wrong?
Thomas Berry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.