I’ve marveled a couple of times at how the rhetoric of emergency response has descended to the hideously banal. Why, for just one instance, didn’t Michael Brown say, “Maybe I screwed things up at first; someone’ll track that down in an investigation a few weeks from now. But the very highest priority at this point must involve rescuing and caring for the vulnerable, stabilizing the community and turning the corner from catastrophe to healing. Therefore, I ask that you give my record a righteous grilling — four weeks from now. At that point, you can have my head on a platter if you want, but I will have been able to do all in my power to save lives and rebuild New Orleans, Biloxi, and the hundreds of thousands of lives affected by this terrible storm.” That’s not exactly Jeffersonian, but it beats whimpering about being criticized and mistreated.
Ron Jeffries wondered bigger; he went right to the top and wrote a speech for President Bush.