We all can remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard about the planes flying into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. For Americans of earlier eras, the same is true of the moment they learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor, the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the horrible day in Dallas in 1963. These were defining, even epochal moments in our history. But in many ways the physical, political and psychological damage caused by Hurricane Katrina has had even more lasting damage.

What sets Katrina apart was that no one was there. After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt appeared the next day before Congress and both demanded a declaration of war and rallied a stunned nation. When he passed in April 1945, a new president, Harry Truman, a man very few people knew, stepped into the White House and took over a grieving nation. And who could match the vigor and youthful eloquence of President John F. Kennedy? The short answer was no one, but a very skilled and fatherly Lyndon B. Johnson knew just how to mobilize both Congress and the public to pass through necessary reforms

And in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 there was Rudy Giuliani. The heroic first responders tried their best on the ground as Rudy appeared everywhere-in charge.

Katrina was so different. Even a year before the hurricane happened, the New Orleans Times-Picayune ran a multi-part series about the inadequacies of the levees and how the next major storm could be the end of New Orleans as we knew it. Nothing was done. And while the images that emerged from Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 were of leaders who promised hope and triumph in our darkest hours, Americans were treated to a pathetic Presidential flyover the devastation and an eerily casual "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job," a reference to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration's Michael Brown, who was not doing anything near a good job.

And the lasting image of those early moments after the storm hit was not of government meeting a crisis head on, but of a young woman on a roof top holding a handmade sign, "Somebody help us" and a big city mayor weeping over his city's fate.

It was more than just a moment. It was a turning point in public perceptions of their federal government. That which is supposed to be there to protect and help innocent people was simply not. There have always been voices of anti-government sentiment in the United States, but Katrina is when it became a mantra-a national consensus that something is very wrong, that the system just does not work.

Where was the emergency plan? Where was the relief? How do resources like trucking, shipping, private agencies and retail companies get organized and mobilize on a moment's notice to immediately rescue and assist the tens of thousands of people like that young woman on the roof? It was enough to make liberals, conservatives and centrists despair. And while many people have not articulated it the same way, there was a growing feeling that a new model was needed. Senator Barack Obama ran and won in 2008 on a theme of restoring hope and a sense that government can work, but even with a solid legislative record, he has not succeeded in convincing the majority of Americans it actually can.

Which brings us to today and the campaign of 2016. We know that the U.S. is no more prepared to handle a catastrophe like Katrina any better now than ten years ago. We know that probably in our lifetimes the big earthquake (and tsunami) will take place along the San Andreas Fault and/or the Pacific Northwest. It's overdue. Large portions of northern California and the present states of Oregon and Washington will be destroyed-and we have been warned. Are we ready?

We need a new system of federalism, one that allows FEMA to lead, plan and strategize while state and local governments and a myriad of non-profits (like United Ways) are all doing their part. Call it a national plan with a national community.

But what candidate is talking about this? And who in the press is asking about it?

Lack of trust may be displayed in things like private emails, buffoonery can come to us in the form of combed-down hair, and we can listen to (then turn off) talk of gay marriage, abortion and talking tough to Putin. You can run for government spending or to dismantle it-we get it.

Katrina was the defining moment of the last decade. Who is going to make it work like it is supposed to? Will there be an FDR, a Truman, an LBJ or a Rudy? Someone better start telling us and fast.