“Tonight, the President addressed our nation’s obligation to rebuild the Gulf Coast and open our arms to those displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
This disaster has shown that we need real leadership at all levels of government – and the relief efforts demand a massive, coordinated response. The local leaders throughout the Gulf Coast region have been overwhelmed by this catastrophe, yet they are doing all they can and more to meet the challenge.
But it is in these very circumstances that the federal government must be at its best. And the people of the Gulf Coast, and all Americans, must demand nothing but the best national response to this tragedy.
We cannot and we must not let this tragedy divide us even further. We must put our priorities in order, and return to the time of community. This is the time for unity and national strength. Great oversights, injustices and mistakes were exposed by the winds and waters of Katrina. Now is the time to mend these wounds, rebuild the great Gulf Coast and restore faith in our motto – E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one.
Every region of our country, including our own, is vulnerable to disaster, whether man-made or natural. We must examine and learn the lessons of our response to Katrina to ensure that the failures of this effort are not repeated. To accomplish that, I believe we need to establish an independent commission to help us understand the cause of those deficiencies so that we never fail Americans in this way again.”