November 3, 2018

It is something I've seen all over social media this week: people, who in any other time, might be a reliable Republican voter, taking the step of declaring themselves unable to support the ongoing cycle of corruption, willful ignorance and pandering to the basest of bigotries.

Case in point: Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who has been a registered Republican for decades. But this election cycle, he sees things not in red vs. blue but in terms of American vs. Un-American.

I'm as concerned about the state of this nation as I have been in a half century, since the turbulent year of 1968. And in some ways, even before that. It's reminiscent in some ways of Friday November 22nd, 1963, and October 1962.

I learned from my father, a naval officer in World War II, and in my military service, the responsibilities, the awesome responsibilities of command that with great authority comes great responsibility. I learned that a leader leads from the front. The leader should be the first to face the threat and the last to safety, not the reverse.

A leader leads by example, according to core values that frame ones decision, that serve as guardrails to prevent ourselves and our organizations from making egregious errors. A leader leads with respect, and in an environment of mutual respect, where respect must be earned.

But most important, a leader helps everyone serve a cause greater than themselves. It can't just be inwardly focused. Right now, that's not happening. This is one of the greatest threats this nation has faced in my lifetime.

Sullenberger felt so strongly that he used the privilege of his platform to write a scathing op-ed in The Washington Post, urging people to vote out the Republicans.

And when Lawrence O'Donnell asked him about it, he doubled down:

Right now, the majority party in the House and Senate are not fulfilling their oath of office. They are not acting as a check and balance. We must replace with those who will. [..] I am talking to the American people. I'm saying, you are the ultimate check and balance. It is up to us, as I said in my piece, we cannot wait for someone to rescue us, we must do it ourselves, everyone, everywhere must vote in massive numbers.

Be a hero like Sully. Vote Democratic up and down the ticket on Tuesday.

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