Retired airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who landed the famous "miracle on the Hudson," said Monday that "this is not the America I know and love" in a message encouraging voter participation ahead of the midterm elections.
Sullenberger wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post that he "witnessed the best in people" on Jan. 15, 2009, when he led 154 people to safety by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River after a malfunction.
"To navigate complex challenges, all leaders must take responsibility and have a moral compass grounded in competence, integrity and concern for the greater good," he wrote.
Tragically, people in positions in power today are not projecting their best, Sullenberger wrote.
"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."
"Many do not respect the offices they hold; they lack — or disregard — a basic knowledge of history, science and leadership; and they act impulsively, worsening a toxic political environment," he continued.
Sullenberger said that the "current absence of civic virtues" should not be normalized.
"We must rededicate ourselves to the ideals, values and norms that unite us and upon which our democracy depends," he wrote. "We must be engaged and informed voters, and we must get our information from credible, reputable sources."
Sullenberger wrote that he has been a registered Republican for the majority of his adult life but has "always voted as an American."