The Corner

Katrina Kerry

This just arrived in my inbox:

Dear Kathryn,

In a few hours, I will deliver a major address at Brown University about what the rage and destruction of Katrina have revealed. I want you to be one of the first to read and reflect upon the text of this speech for a very simple reason.

It’s time for each and every one of us to say what needs to be said — with the full force of our convictions, with nothing held back. <a href="

“>This speech is my attempt to do exactly that — and your response to my call to action will define the work of the community far into the future.

Natural and human calamity have stripped away the spin machine, creating a rare accountability moment, not just for the Bush administration, but for all of us to take stock of the direction of our country and do what we can to reverse it. That’s our job — to turn this moment from a frenzied expression of guilt into a national reversal of direction.

We’ve seen America at its best and our government at its worst. Millions of Americans are beginning to realize where they fit in our democracy under Republican governance: nowhere.

It’s time for a fundamental debate about the choices we are making as a nation. Here is some of the language I will use later today to help provoke that badly needed national conversation:

The Katrina Administration

Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn’t do. Michael Brown — or Brownie as the President so famously thanked him for doing a heck of a job — Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to slam dunk intelligence; what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what Tom Delay is to ethics; and what George Bush is to “Mission Accomplished” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The bottom line is simple: the “we’ll do whatever it takes” administration doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done.

This is the Katrina administration.

The Real Test of Katrina

This is the real test of Katrina. Will we be satisfied to only do the immediate: care for the victims and rebuild the city? Or will we be inspired to tackle the incompetence that left us so unprepared, and the societal injustice that left so many of the least fortunate waiting and praying on those rooftops?

Making the Gulf Coast a Right-Wing Laboratory

The rush now to camouflage their misjudgments and inaction with money does not mean they are suddenly listening. It’s still politics as usual. The plan they’re designing for the Gulf Coast turns the region into a vast laboratory for right wing ideological experiments. They’re already talking about private school vouchers, abandonment of environmental regulations, abolition of wage standards, subsidies for big industries, and believe it or not yet another big round of tax cuts for the wealthiest among us!

Please take a moment right now to read the entire speech.

Let’s be absolutely clear about the moment we are in. The weeks ahead will define our country’s direction — our understanding of ourselves, what we believe in, what we insist on creating, what we refuse to let happen.

The speech I will deliver in a matter of hours is about saying what needs to be said. In the weeks ahead, our entire community must engage in doing what needs to be done. I know I can count on you to stand with me as we take on that challenge — and I will be in touch in the days ahead about our next steps together.


John Kerry

P.S. There is one thing you can do right now. Share this speech by forwarding it to as many people as possible. We’re going to need all the help we can get in the days and weeks ahead.

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