Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger is a safety expert, author and speaker on leadership and culture. Nearly 10 years ago, he led 154 people to safety as the captain of US Airways Flight 1549, which was forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Some called it “the Miracle on the Hudson.”
Now, he is urging Americans to save themselves by opposing political leaders who are causing and supporting the "toxic environment" of hate and division.
In this article in The Washington Post, Sullenberger stresses the importance of calm leadership and says many of today's political leaders "are cowardly, complicit enablers, acting against the interests of the United States, our allies and democracy; encouraging extremists at home and emboldening our adversaries abroad; and threatening the livability of our planet."
Many, he writes, do not respect the offices they hold, saying that "they lack — or disregard — a basic knowledge of history, science and leadership; and they act impulsively, worsening a toxic political environment."
Sullenberger writes that "For the first 85 percent of my adult life, I was a registered Republican. But I have always voted as an American. And this critical Election Day, I will do so by voting for leaders committed to rebuilding our common values and not pandering to our basest impulses."
Sullenberger says he now has accepted the challenge of serving as a "defender of our democracy."
But, he says, we, as Americans who are concerned about our nation today, "cannot wait for someone to save us. We must do it ourselves."
He describes the coming Election Day as "a crucial opportunity to again demonstrate the best in each of us by doing our duty and voting for leaders who are committed to the values that will unite and protect us."
Ultimately, we will have to answer for what we do -- or do not do, he says.
"Years from now, when our grandchildren learn about this critical time in our nation’s history, they may ask if we got involved, if we made our voices heard. I know what my answer will be. I hope yours will be “yes.”