Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the former airline pilot behind the miracle landing of an Airbus on the Hudson river just outside Manhattan in 2009, has spoken out ahead of next week’s elections to criticize the current administration of Donald Trump.
Writing in the Washington Post, Sullenberger, who has been a lifelong Republican, explained his change of heart.
The “Miracle on the Hudson,” as Sullenberger’s heroic actions have been named since the incident, saved the lives of all 155 souls on board U.S. Airways Flight 1549, compared the country then to the country now under the leadership of President Trump and the GOP.
“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 out common values and not pandering to our basest impulses.”
Sullenberger feels that the current administration has fostered a culture of “fear, anger and hatred,” and, without naming any names, stated that “leaders must take responsibility and have a moral compass grounded in competence, integrity and concern for the greater good.”
He then added that the kind of calm and strategic thinking he demonstrated during the Miracle on the Hudson should be displayed by leaders in times of the crisis right now.
Although he decided to refrain from pointing direct fingers at anyone, he said he believes the “people in power” lack basic knowledge of important subjects that make them unfit to lead, including a lack of knowledge of history, science, and even leadership, which has resulted in them “acting impulsively, and worsening a toxic political environment.”
“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.”
The result, according to Sullenberger, is a “struggle for who and what we are as a people.” The former pilot feels that the country has lost “unit cohesion,” and that the very fabric of American society is being threatened by the current leaders of the country.
“This is not the America I know and love. We’re better than this. Our ideals, shared facts and common humanity are what bind us together as a nation and a people. Not one of these values is a political issue, but the lack of them is,” he added.
He concluded that there is no point in “waiting for someone to save us,” and that Americans must vote for the people who are most likely to bring about positive change and stand for the values that America holds most dear on November 6.
“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.’”
It’s not the first time Sullenberger has spoken out against the current administration. According to the Washington Times, he spoke out in August 2017 when Trump proposed privatizing air traffic control, arguing it would make passengers less safe. He also spoke out earlier in 2017 after Trump imposed a travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries.
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