With the news reports coming in, one after the other, each one worse than the last, telling us how dire the situation is, it's hard to step back and in some ways be very selfish about what it means for the future. It is clear that Bush and the GOP have abandoned any conception of government as something that can be used to alleviate suffering (at the least) or to make life better. Further, the structural damage that these 8 years have done (and will continue to do) to the ability of the government to respond means that even if Bush and his cronies are gone, rectifying the situation will take time.
For the foreseeable future then, we are on our own. When, and not if, a flu pandemic hits, everyone should anticipate that the government will fail in virtually every significant respect. The same for a terrorist attack. Everyone should take the government response to Katrina and New Orleans to heart--it's the true face of what we ordinary people can expect during the next major emergency. Think and plan accordingly--we have now been warned in the most graphic way possible.