The pilot who orchestrated a dramatic plane landing in the Hudson River nearly 10 years ago encouraged Americans to vote in next week’s midterm elections in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday, writing that “we cannot wait for someone to save us.”
“The fabric of our nation is under attack, while shame — a timeless beacon of right and wrong — seems dead,” Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, whose “Miracle on the Hudson” landing in 2009 spared the lives of all 155 passengers aboard, writes. “This is not the America I know and love. We’re better than this.”
The op-ed comes toward the close of a wrenching political season marked by divisive language, conspiracy theories and race-baiting attacks, from President Donald Trump to local leaders.
“We cannot wait for someone to save us. We must do it ourselves. This Election Day is 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,” Sullenberger writes nearly a week before next week’s elections.
He dedicates much of his op-ed to criticizing the current political environment and expressing concern about the nation’s elected officials. In one of his more pointed critiques, Sullenberger writes that today, “too many people in power are projecting the worst.”
“Many 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,” he wrote.
Although Sullenberger doesn’t mention any particular politician by name, he writes that for most of his adult life, he 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,” he writes.
Following the 2009 landing, Sullenberger says that he realized his fame had given him “a greater voice.”
“I knew I could not walk away but had an obligation to use this bully pulpit for good and as an advocate for the safety of the traveling public,” he writes.
“I feel that I now have yet another mission, as a defender of our democracy.”