Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger: Like Joe Biden, I Once Stuttered, Too. I Dare You to Mock Me.

The retired pilot responds to recent comments from the president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, on the way the former vice president talks.

Comments: 211

  1. Beautifully said, Sully, and thank you for saying it here.

  2. @Mary F. Too bad he couldn’t have said it on Fox News, where an audience more needing his wisdom would be found. But they would never have given him the time of day.

  3. @MikeG Right on target; both comments.

  4. Thanks for the great read, and for the tears that welled up as I finished.

  5. This is a wonderful piece. Thanks for writing this. My favorite line: "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect."

  6. @ginny So true. Character defects are most difficult to treat because the individuals who have them are in favor of their character and see no defect. That's a generalization, but widely valid. A "Borderline" character disorder may want to be less emotionally fragile. But find me a Narcissist who is aggrieved that he feels so good about himself! The character defect in Ms. Trump is likely indelible, as it is "ego-syntonic": in harmony with her view of herself.

  7. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." The only thing that will cure the latter is a blue wave.

  8. @The Pessimistic Shrink Or, those whose defenses work too well have an inability to seek help, and so sadly they never change.

  9. I'm not concerned by his stutter, but I am concerned by his voting record. He supported both the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, which are the two worst things the US Government has supported in my lifetime. Add to this the fact that he brushes off the problems the younger generations face and doesn't even pretend that he'll try to solve them. If the nominee is Sanders, Warren, Yang, or even Buttigieg, I'll vote for them, but if Biden is the nominee, I'm voting third party. We need to elect someone who will at least attempt to improve things, instead of going down the same corrupt path the country has been falling into for decades.

  10. @mike I believe the piece is more about the "culture of cruelty" than about Biden's chances or appropriateness as the nominee. I for one can't understand why so many Republican brothers and sisters seem so utterly unfazed by the downright meanness expressed so often by Trump and everyone in his circle. Where is the outrage? Where even is the tempered censure from his side of the political spectrum? I don't get it.

  11. @mike Valid points. But a third party vote is a vote for trump. There is no way the USA can stand 4 more years: we will cease to exist as a country that anyone recognizes. I know I am not alone in assessing my expat options should the unthinkable happen and he gets reelected

  12. @mike Voting for third party means indirectly a vote for Trump. Good luck with the Supreme Court.

  13. The Trump Family, for all their wealth, is so low-class. And I say that without the slightest verbal hesitation. I eagerly await Donald Trump’s response that he could’ve landed the USAirways flight better than Sully, because, you know, Trump is the greatest pilot.

  14. @David G They are powerful evidence that class and (projected) wealth are separate things. We should, however, make a distinction: Donald has siblings who are out of the public eye, including a sister who is a judge. Otherwise, sure, Donald his children who are in the spotlight are deplorable at many levels.

  15. @David G - My wise mother said that in her experience, money and class were, more often than not, mutually exclusive.

  16. @plinar The Sun King's sister used to be a judge. She recently resigned her post rather than submit to a standard background check required by her professional organization. Maybe she has something to hide....wouldn't be surprised.

  17. Wow! These words 'landed' perfectly. Mr. Sullenbergergs grasp of the toxic environment engendered by the culture of Trumpism demonstrates just how serious a crises it is. This is a clarion call to conscience, and I just wish it were required reading for everyone who has the privilege to vote.

  18. Forward this to everyone you know and ask the to do the same. We so desperately need inspirational words from heroes right now.

  19. @JM yes, lets get this out there. I posted mine to face book

  20. "You can be a pilot who lands your plane on a river and helps save lives, or a president who treats people with respect, rather than making fun of them." I, literally, got chills reading that with tears welling. Everything good and decent in how we should be, and what we can be, defined in one sentence. Thank you.

  21. My favorite line: A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect. Thank you Sully.

  22. @LindaP Nicely put. Also reminds me that scene in The King's Speech, when Lionel tells Bertie that he's the bravest man he's ever known. Never fails to bring tears of joy. Thank you, Sully.

  23. @LindaP I too was touched by that comment. But it misses the point of Trump. I don't think that a Trump who treats others with respect would have been elected. He was and remains totally unqualified. He fails on so many levels. But as long as he is using bullying to divide us and pump up his base, he has a real shot at re-election.

  24. How much better to overcome odds with an impediment while building a fortified character than having fortified trappings while building impeded character--Lara

  25. Mr. Sullenberger, Thank you very much for this insightful and educational opinion piece. Your comments are valuable for establishing understanding and empathy for those with speech challenges. That being said, and with all my heart, I reiterate that Biden is not the right candidate. The office of the President calls for someone with impeccable oral skills, who sets the nation and the world at ease with his or her voice. We currently have a president with extraordinarily impaired verbal skills and an astounding lack of education and he’s set the world on its ear in horror. I’m not saying Biden is anything remotely akin to Trump by a long shot but we need a leader who does not make to make ours heart clinch in fear of a misstep. I’m ready for a president who speaks well and clearly. I’m sorry Mr. Biden has this affliction and I applaud him for nevertheless putting himself in the public eye for his whole career. However, he is not the person to be president, for this and several other issues.

  26. Hortencia, this article is not about how Biden would be the best person for President, it is about the crassness and cruelty of the entire Trump family and the effect that has on people (especially children) with this disability.

  27. @Hortencia I'm not sure what your point is. We've had several presidents with rather lackluster oral skills (Eisenhower, LBJ, Carter, the Bushes). If you took Captain Sullenberger's piece to heart, than you no doubt read that the message is more important than the delivery. Are you honestly saying that if Joe Biden was the Democratic candidate you would either vote the incumbent or stay home? That's slap in the face to every person who strives to overcome their impediments. Perhaps FDR wasn't the right person for American because of his disabilities?

  28. @Hortencia I think you missed the point of this article. But, if you want an example of a person who stuttered and overcame it to become a great leader, I would recommend the picture; The King's Speech. It's the story of King George VI reign during World War II.

  29. In the last 4 years of the Trump administration and republican followers of this train wreck in the Oval Office its sure refreshing to hear true leaders that inspire people to bring out the best in all of us and after all isn’t that what leadership is all about. It gives me hope because without hope there is nothing. Trump and the Republicans know nothing about leadership. Thank you for this great and inspirational article.

  30. To a true hero, thank you. It is what you say, not how you say it, that is important.

  31. My nephew had a stuttering problem when he was young and got teased for it. He worked on his speech with devotion, thinking through each word in a sentence before he spoke. He didn’t even have access to a speech therapist. But he was determined. By high school, he was such a gifted presenter that he got paid to speak on behalf of other entities. Today, he has made a name for himself in academia, speaking not only in front of classes but addressing other scientists worldwide. Despite the stuttering he had to work through, my nephew had the last laugh - and the last word.

  32. @NM You should be very proud of your nephew. FYI, Carly Simon stuttered as a child and spoke about it in an interview. My understanding is that she was encouraged to sing, hoping that would lessen the stutter.

  33. @NM Perhaps the hidden gift of stuttering is that you actually have to think about what you say, before you say it ? It would be wonderful if more people did just that !

  34. @NM Please give him a hug for me.

  35. I am so glad that there are still decent, kind and principled people in the US. Thank you for being not only a hero in crisis but one in life.

  36. @LS , I know it doesn't seem like it from where you are over there in gorgeous Spain... but there are lots of us here who are kind and decent. I guess we're the new silent majority. Thanks for being patient though. We are all trying to fix this nightmare. Not only for us, but for the world as well.

  37. American citizens are facing an existential crisis not entirely different from that of passengers aboard a crippled airliner in the hands of a cruel, incompetent, and delusional pilot. It remains to be seen whether clear-eyed, capable, and compassionate leaders will ultimately be able to wrest the controls to bring our gravely wounded ship of State safely back to earth. Our shared destiny as citizen/passengers depends on our grasp of the gravity of the situation. We need skilled, ethical and courageous leaders. Let’s replace elected nothingburgers with more Sullenbergers.

  38. As one whose been there, these words ring so true for me. I too made that same long journey. I only wish the leaders of our country had 1/10 the character of "Sully" Sullenberger. Thanks Sully, for once more bringing us back to even keel, and being a great example of what a decent human being looks like.

  39. What a beautifully written piece. Thank you for shining a light on the difficulties people with a stutter such as yourself and Joe Biden have to deal with. However, the beauty of this piece stands in stark contrast to the utterly terrible headline above it, which not only furthers the inexplicable Times’ trend towards in-your-face, aggressive headlines, but also bears no relation to the kind, gentle and professional demeanor Capt. Sullenberger has always displayed. If only the Times’ headline writers could follow his example.

  40. @Hugh CC I’ve noticed that, too. I think they’re trying to be funny or cute but it’s neither. It’s just juvenile.

  41. Just a wonderful piece. Thank you Sully! He refers to landing an airplane in the Hudson. What is truly heartening is the recollection that, after the passengers exited the airplane onto the wing in the frozen Hudson, Sully and co-pilot Jeff Skiles walked the length of the airplane, over incoming water, on seat arms, to make sure that everyone was out. That, to me, is something I will remember forever. Stuttering seems unimportant with this.

  42. @DT sully’s dog’s fleas would make a better president than Trump. At least they’d be American.

  43. Thank you, Capt. Sully. You have courage and grace of a kind that the trump family does not practice. They would be a far better bunch if that had.

  44. People who stutter typically are some of the smartest , brightest and most accomplished human beings; just read history books to find many between the pages. Trump apparently can neither read, nor comprehend anything beyond his sick mind.

  45. Beautifully said, Sully! In any morally solvent family, there would be some powerful Lara-shaming going on right now. But in the pitiful collection of misfits that comprise the Trump family and retinue, one can imagine only "atta-girl" sentiments in the wake of this stunningly insensitive act. "If THIS is how low they have to go, [whomever] must be a formidable candidate"....let's hope that's the message that resonates whenever any of them mocks a candidate's childhood disability.

  46. Show some decency, indeed! Wouldn't that be refreshing. Let us not forget our current president mocked a reporter with a disability. Thank you for having the courage and moral compass to encourage others to be respectful.

  47. I don’t think we’ve seen anything compared to what this classless and now desperate Trump family has planned between now and Election Day. Trump is like a cage animal fighting for his life. His vengeance will be volcanic. His culture of cruelty will know no bounds.

  48. Thank you for reminding us what is important: character and perseverance. Clearly, Melania's "Be Best" anti-bullying campaign has not made any impact on her family.

  49. @BMD You are correct about Melania. "Be Best" is just a slogan she once mouthed - she hasn't exerted herself to actually campaign, and didn't even (as had been alleged) participate in writing the booklet. Finding compassion in Trump's current wife or mistresses, or in any of his children or their spouses, has not yet happened on this plane of existence.

  50. @Marvant Duhon Let's be fair. We have no idea whether Tiffany is compassionate. Although I know nothing about her, I like to think that she is a decent person -- based principally on the fact that she took no public role in the campaign or administration. And just based on the laws of probability, some of the mistresses must be all right. When you have a sample set that large (hundreds? thousands?), there must be a few decent ones in the mix.

  51. @BMD Indeed, the Be Best campaign has made the Trumps much, much worse. Was that the point, I wonder? To "Be (the)Best Bullies?"

  52. Beautifully written and inspirational. Soon, we will have a president and first family who have the heart, decendy and character we expect of our great country's leaders, or we will cease to be a great country.

  53. Thank you, Captain Sully, for your service and your words. Trump, his family, and his ardent supporters have degraded this country. It’s not about politics, it’s about basic decency..and this is why, my Trump supporting friends, we’re not friends any longer.

  54. Thank you captain Sully for a beautiful piece. And for casting light on the incivility that defines this president.

  55. Thanks for speaking out, Capt. Sullenberger! The list of decent, competent, and profoundly patriotic citizens mocked and scorned by one or another of the Trumps grows longer all the time, doesn't it? It's similar in number to the list of Trump friends and associates on their way to jail for criminal activities. Or the number of Trump cabinet members and staff who have found something somehow more pressing to do than serve in the White House...

  56. This is exactly what we need to hear at this time. Thank you Sully! Decency...what a concept. I remember it well. And cannot wait until we can look back on this presidency and be thankful that it came to an end after only four sad years for our democracy.

  57. This fellow stutterer thanks you, Mr. Sullenberger, for using the power of your public image to help kids suffering from the social isolation this difficulty can create, and for doing your part to destigmatize it.

  58. Heroic words from something we have so rarely seen in this century: a true hero.

  59. A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect. Best line....

  60. @kencharuk In my youth I sadly recall hitting a weaker boy causing him to cry in pain. The pain I inflicted made me feel shame and I never hit another human being again. After all the people Trump has has hurt why is it that he never feels shame? Captain Sullenberger gives a very simple explanation: "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect". I hope enough of our citizens come to realize that Trump's character flaws are ripping this country apart, and he is unable to change. He must be replaced in 2020 with someone who has the character, compassion and intelligence of Captain Sullenberger.

  61. @kencharuk And GOP senators have serious character defects.

  62. I'm a Democrat and would take President Biden over President Trump any day of the week, 365 days a year - and 366 days of the year in a leap year. But I wish I could believe the issue is only a stutter. Is it really? Go back and watch his debate with Paul Ryan a few years ago. Substance aside, he was dominant and fluid. No stutter then, no word salad, no nonsensical sentences. If the issue was a stutter, wouldn't it have shown up then as well?

  63. Stuttering can come and go - dysfluencies can be more frequent when people are nervous, tired, or for seemingly no reason at all. I’m a speech therapist in a public school, and I’ve worked with several children who stutter. The anxiety and shame can be overwhelming. I love reading articles like this one - public discussion and education about stuttering is so important.

  64. @Stephen I think the many candidates on the Democratic debate stage may hamper Biden. He is much more fluent in interviews and he will due fine against Trump, who has nothing to offer but smears and sneers.

  65. @Stephen So what is the other option? Certainly not re-electing the present occupant of the WH.

  66. When you mentioned singing to help overcome stuttering it reminded me of Mel Tillis, the great country singer who stuttered. He said that singing allowed him to get his words out and that sometimes he would kind of sing his sentences. I agree, shame on anyone who makes fun of another just because of the way they look, or act. I remember a dentist who had a severely handicapped child, who said, at the child's funeral, that his son taught him and his family patience. Something we can all learn when others who are not so fortunate are in front of us. I know I did.

  67. "This culture of cruelty is what drives decent people from public service, and what makes millions of Americans recoil from politics, and even from participating in our democracy." Well, you hit the nail on the head with that sentence. That's the intent of anyone associated with DJtRump ... to drive people away from public service and recoil from participating in politics. The fewer people that vote, the likelier tRump and his supporters will win in 2020. Laura tRump will not apologize or retract her comments. Actually this will probably embolden her to continue.

  68. @Kevin I also liked this sentence: A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect.

  69. @Kevin There is one thing worse than a bully...a billionaire bully!

  70. Great courage in this day and age! DJT has attacked disabled people becuase they are disabled, as if they chose that status. Always displaying your grace and courage as u did on the river in Manhatttan , helps all of us strive harder to make positive contributions. Thank u for both.

  71. Run for president, Sully. You would win and put our country back on the path it so wants to be. Thanks for this brilliant piece.

  72. @Mike We already know he can handle an emergency landing !

  73. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." Beautiful. Thank you so much for this. A second thought: a speech disorder, whether it can be treated or not, is nothing to be ashamed of. A character defect is.

  74. Beautifully said!

  75. Thank you for advocating for kindness, empathy and decency. Agreed, emphatically — cruelty has no place in public life, especially in our highest public elected office.

  76. The belligerence of the headline belies Sully’s thoughtful heartfelt plea for moral decency and respect from our public leaders. I’m afraid those qualities were abandoned long ago by the Republican Party, in large part because they learned during the Obama years that abandoning them worked politically. We are consigned to living in this WWE nightmare for the foreseeable future, I’m afraid.

  77. @David The New York Times sometimes changes the online headline, and the one in the print edition is frequently different. Hopefully a new one will be more representative of both Captain Sullenberger’s character and piece.

  78. Thank you, Pilot Sullenberger III, for this piece and the many other ways you have served your country. Your character assets truly stand out. Unfortunately, it's not clear that our President (along with much of his administration) is anything BUT character defects. To my fellow Americans, I ask that In addition to being kind to those you encounter who are "different" from you, please do whatever is necessary to vote in 2020. Our collective future is literally at stake.

  79. Aw, Sully, you bring tears to me. How kind and understanding, how deeply thoughtful. You remind us that decency is still a virtue and compassion our friend. Thank you.

  80. A beautiful,timely,letter. As the parent of a young man who was a stutterer I not only understand what you say, but I equally condemn those who make fun of people who do stutter. I deeply respect and admire you, Joe Biden, my son, and all others who struggle to overcome this disability. Cheers to you, Sully, and boo to Lara Trump.

  81. @Harold Pickerstein You should tell your son, many famous people had a stutter, from the King of England, to the Actor Bruce Willis, I too suffer from it, not as bad as when I was a kid, still certain words I avoid. One of the things l learned was a speech therapist told me to expand my vocabulary so that I could avoid problematic words, just that one small thing has served me well.

  82. Thank you for speaking up, Capt. Sullenberger. Lara Trump is, well, as "classy" as the family she married into -- and though no one with a sense of decency would condone her words, it's both reassuring and valuable for all to hear (or, in this case, read) yours.

  83. Trumps: low as lint in the navel of an earthworm.

  84. @Maggiesmom What happened ? In which newspaper is reported ? I would like to know something more before openly accuse somebody..

  85. My father was a speech teacher who worked with clients who stuttered. A couple were world-reknown in their field. A stutter is no reflection on character or intelligence or capability. However, the adults (in particular) who are making fun of a stutterer show how little character they have. When Donald Trump mocked that reporter’s disability, something that is not a function of one’s character and out of their control, it became obvious to me I could never support his candidacy even if there where policies with which I agreed. I am not surprised, but still saddened, that this kind of deplorable behavior is endemic in the Trump family. The fact that Biden’s stutter is being weaponized against him (probably in hopes of embarrassing him at a debate) shows how craven they are. Do you really want somebody like Trump to remain the image of our country?

  86. @historyrepeated Biden has talked about his stuttering before, I’ve known it for years. For many years it was assumed someone that stuttered was mentally deficient. Obviously that’s wrong. There are varying degrees of stuttering, there’s the Mel Tillis kind of stuttering, then there’s the milder version of it, I used to stutter, now it’s only certain words, or if I’m nervous, or exited. I leave my stuttered words in my podcast, since I want to attract all kinds of people to participate with my podcast.

  87. @historyRepeated-I find it amazing that the Trumps--who've been benefited by great material wealth--stoop to such lows, name calling and lashing out at others. Even with all their wealth-advantaged privilege and opportunities, somehow they're still aggrieved victims.

  88. The fact that Trump could become the image of the country is what saddens me because it means that the people who voted him in who are the worst of us are far more numerous than I ever thought. These behaviors are spreading like a cancer in this country. Our only chance of stopping it is to vote him and any who supports him out of office. We must take back the country and make it civil again.

  89. Honesty, honor, respect, decency....what novel concepts these days. Thank you for your eloquent defense of all of those admirable traits that are lost on the current "first family".

  90. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." -- Quote of the day.

  91. I can get past a speech impediment.

  92. @John Santella I wonder if our First Lady—the one against bullying?—took her step-daughter to task for engaging in the Trump Family cottage industry of ridiculing those with disabilities . I think we know the answer

  93. @Franco51 After all, to be fair to Melania, it’s tough to lift up pond goo. It just slips through your fingers.

  94. Thank you for the wonderful column. We need more decent people like you in our country. Wish you were running for President.

  95. Outstanding statement of priorities in life. Thank you, sir.

  96. Just perfect. I stuttered and eventually dropped out of law school because of my fear of the on-the-spot questioning. I am more fluent now with enough stuttering to remind me that I’m bigger than my fears. Joe Biden and Captain Sullenberger are heroes. Lara Trump will never make that claim.

  97. This opinion exemplifies why Sully is a hero. What we need are more Sullies in Congress.

  98. This is what America needs in this tumultuous time. A patriot and a hero to speak out against cruelty. Thank you Captain Sullenberger. Your opinion piece made my day.

  99. Beautifully written. Thank you for your heartfelt words. Inspiring for so many of us.

  100. I am reminded of one of my favorite movies, “The Kings Speech.” It is about King George VI who stuttered from childhood. He became King when his elder brother abdicated the throne of England and was forced into public life, giving speeches and dealing with the difficulties that followed. With the help of a voice coach he struggled to overcome his stutter and give one of the finest speeches to his people as his nation entered WWII. He ended up being a beloved King and father to the current monarch Queen Elizabeth. Stuttering does not destroy a career or define a person, or leader.

  101. If you saw ‘The King’s Speech’, then you know how amazing that leaders like you and Biden have many many obstacles that are in the way. However, leadership is about saying the right message at the right time to inspire people to do better, to be brave, to stand up for what is the best in all of us, to be principled, to fight evil, to overcome adversity. Thank you so much for telling us what we need to hear.

  102. Decency has been in such short supply the last three years. Thank you, Sully. We need more decent, high-profile people such as yourself to speak out against hateful words, no matter where they come from. I was thrilled when the movie, "The King's Speech" won the Academy Award for best picture. If there ever was a profile in courage, it was stutterer King George VI's slow, moving speech to the people of Britain at the outset of World War II with Beethoven's magical 7th in the background. I thought maybe, just maybe, that would move people to respect people who stutter, not make fun of them. I am sure it moved you.

  103. @Historical Facts I read a quote from one of the soldiers rescued from Dunkirk; he referenced Churchill's famous speech "we will fight them on the beaches..."; he also referenced King George's speech. He said he knew why he was fighting after those speeches. That reminds me of my parents listening to FDR's fireside chats when I was a little girl. My uncles left law school and joined the Navy; so many officers died in the early days that my young uncles became Captains in their early twenties. One uncle told me that his generation were already tough from the Depression; they were ready to go.

  104. When I was a child, my friends and I used to share, and laugh at, what were then called “cruelty jokes.” Even today, i cringe to admit I was once that person. I also cringe to realize that the president and his family are still that person.

  105. It’s true that kids can be very cruel, my parents would have had serious issues with me if they had caught me doing that.

  106. Joe Biden is authentic. He's smart. He can rally the country and our allies together. He can and will win this election.

  107. @Fern 3 I remember being on the West Side Highway and seeing the plane in the water and praying everyone was going to be safe. Capt Sulley we love you and so happy that you are truly an American hero

  108. For anyone needing support and reassurance in this anxious election year, I recommend Mr. Sullenberger's 2010 book "Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters." He claims not to be a "hero"; on that we'll just agree to disagree.

  109. Most hero’s don’t consider themselves a hero, in his case his training, skill, and confidence paid off. We consider people like Sully, special, people like Sully to them they were just doing their job. He had as much to lose as a paying passenger, so some of it is self preservation, the rest is Sully his training, and muscle memory. When your confident in your abilities, confidence gives you the ability to remain calm, and the abilities of the aircraft (as in this case) then it’s a simple case of doing everything you can to make the stars align. The airmanship he displayed is what’s amazing, jets aren’t designed as gliders.

  110. My adult son was a stutterer as a child. I learned so much from him as he struggled to overcome this speech disorder. He still stutters occasionally and people can still be so cruel. Thank you for sharing your story Capt Sullenberger. You're an inspiration.

  111. @MG I have a stutter it was worse when I was a child, but I’ve never put up with bullies, so when I was made fun of, the fun for them was very short lived. As an adult, I have even less patience. Your adult son, should confront anyone that makes fun of him, because that’s all they understand.

  112. You are an American Hero. Not only for your courage, but for your kindness.

  113. Thanks for this article! I have Muscular Dystrophy and can't tell you the how often I was humiliated as a kid because of a nuerodegenerative disease I didn't want and couldn't control. I don't expect kids or even teenagers to understand what it is/was like to have some trait that inhibits normal functioning (whether physical or mental) such as a stutter, blindness, bipolar disorder, muscular dystrophy, or anything else. I don't even expect adults to fully understand - how can they? It would be like me trying to fully understand what it is like to be blind. But I don't think it's too much to expect that they not use that trait as an opportunity to marginalize another human being. I didn't see or hear Trump's daughter spew forth her ugly words, but her behavior appalls me. One day that ugliness will catch up to that family because it always does. And when it does I hope it is far more mild than the ugliness they have doled out to the world because they do not seem to have the inner strength to handle it. Regardless, I won't be giving them further thought. I'd rather think about the amazing people who face the challenges they've been given and somehow find the courage to triumph over them. And in so doing elevate us all.

  114. @DCS I believe it’s in how your raised. When I was in the 4th grade, a new kid came to class, he had water on the brain, so his head had become elongated and it shook back and forth like he was saying no. Today, it’s curable, in the 1960s it wasn’t. The teacher never explained what he had, or that he looked different but wasn’t, he just appeared, and he was immediately teased, stared at, and worse the kids would forcibly hold his head, apparently it was funny. I never thought it was funny, and neither did the class bully when a gave him a black eye and fat lip. I became his friend, he was smart, funny, had hopes and dreams just like the rest of us, except he understood mortality since he was dying. He played kick ball usually on my team, he played softball on my team. I wasn’t his friend because I had pity for him. I was his friend because he deserved being treated with dignity. I struggled with math, he was a genius with math, he could do these complex math formulas in his head. I had him over for dinner, all the things that kids do. I brought him over to see my little sister, she was two months old. Looking at her he said, that all I ever wanted to be, normal. When he died, he had left me a hand written note, (I still have)he thanked me for being his friend, that he wished he could stay because he was sure we’d be life long friends. I’ve never forgotten Eddie, I’ve never forgotten the lesson he taught me, without my realizing it. It was a privilege to have known Eddi

  115. @DCS You're right, none of us can fully understand what another person is going through. However, we should all have enough empathy and compassion not to make fun of other people, whether or not they have a disability. If children do it, the hurtfulfulness should be explained to them. When someone like Lara Trump, an adult and a mother does it, I have little hope that criticizing her will make a difference.

  116. @DCS -Lovely comment. I've no doubt that despite your disease, in every way you will always stand head and shoulders above the likes of a trump. Thank you and best wishes.

  117. Hero, humble, human, and honorable. Capt. Sullenberger, you sir have my sincere gratitude. Your words mean a lot to me. Courage and compassion are so rarely seen together.

  118. Thank you Mr. Sullenberger. You are a hero. Mr. Eastwood, you are not.

  119. Captain Sullenberger aces another perfect landing. Thank you sir. I wish we could clone you. As for any of the trumps, the only good purpose they serve is as a stark example of what really bad behavior looks (and sounds) like.

  120. Captain Sullenberger brought me near tears here, not because of his struggle, but because he reminded me that each and every one of us has greatness within us. It waits for that moment when we call on it. From Omaha Beach to the moon and to the frozen Hudson, greatness sleeps in every man woman and child. The essence of leadership is the ability to make every citizen feel that about him or herself and the country. That’s what I’m looking for in my President. Raegan had it. Obama had it. Trump wouldn’t know it if he

  121. Thank you for this, it fills me with a mixture of humility and civic pride. It’s been a while.

  122. I didn't even know Biden had a stuttering problem, nor would I make fun of it. What worries me about Joe is when he switches topics mid sentence, randomly cites memorized talking points out of context, and when he trails off into nonsensical ramblings. I'd still vote for him, but I don't think he is the best candidate.

  123. @Justaguy I've had the same worries about Joe Biden, especially since I lost my mother to Alzheimers. I've listened to Biden talk for years, but in the debates something seemed to have changed. So I've been listening hard to see if I could pick up any verbal signs of dementia from Biden, but I don't hear dementia. The Democratic debates have been a verbal pressure cooker, but I didn't understand why his speech patterns were so odd until I read an excellent article in the Jan/Feb issue of The Atlantic "What Joe Biden Can't Bring Himself to Say" by a journalist who has also had a lifelong battle with stuttering. He explains that maddening habit of changing topics in mid sentence or the switching to memorized talking points as a tell that Biden feels he's about to stutter and jumps to something safe to try to remain in control. A severe stutter didn't keep Sully from landing that plane in the river, and it doesn't diminish Joe's common sense and decency. Now that I know a little more about stuttering I have no trouble saying I will enthusiastically support Biden if he's the Democratic nominee.

  124. @Denise Exactly, I was going to quote the same article but you beat me too it. I wish the author of the Times article would reference the one in the The Atlantic, so others would get a deeper understanding of the anguish Joe Biden goes through in a debate when one is under pressure to get everything out in just one minute. Not the best forum for him, so he struggles with it and people unfamiliar with stuttering, think there is something wrong with his mental processes. A common misconception.

  125. @Justaguy This excellent article, written by a journalist who stutters, does a deep dive into Biden’s stutter. It explains that those pauses and switches can result from trying to avoid a stutter: One interesting passage: “A stutter does not get worse as a person ages, but trying to keep it at bay can take immense physical and mental energy. Biden talks all day to audiences both small and large. In addition to periodically stuttering or blocking on certain sounds, he appears to intentionally not stutter by switching to an alternative word—a technique called “circumlocution”—which can yield mangled syntax.”

  126. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect" I LOVE it! Wonderful piece, thank you. Nice to see a public figure model dignity, respect, and class. Great contrast to Martha McSally's recent crude remarks to a CNN reporter:

  127. Sully- You landed another one- this time flying a sentiment that the silent majority of true Americans can embrace as the essence of our ideals. Thank you for reminding us of our responsibility to respect one another and to try to make the world a better place for our children.

  128. Thank goodness for you, your decency, and the words you shared Capt. Sullenberger. Donald Trump and the Trump family bring knots to my stomach and tears behind my eyes almost every time they open their mouths. We must continue to teach our children that the bullying, cruelty, and dishonesty of the Trump family is not the norm of this country, that there are valuable lessons learned from the past three years, that their words come from a place of low self-esteem and other psychological issues, and that there is great hope of a healthier, kinder administration in our future.

  129. @Rebecca R Here, Here...thank you for words of wisdom. Where is Melania's anti bully campaign with her own family. "Perhaps she does protest too much"

  130. I waiting to hear Trump defend Lara's crass remark saying, "Lara has a sincere and deeply held belief that making fun of people with any type of disability is okay because she sincerely "believes" it."

  131. You're a mensch, Sully! Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration!

  132. Thanks to Sully. I know the pain reported by people who stutter or did as a child. As a speech pathologist I worked with many clients to help. People like Lara and Donald, lack human empathy.

  133. Thank you for your words. My wife and I worry about our 6 year old son, as he stuttered at 3.5 years, then got over it, only to have it resume once he began kindergarten. We work to teach him the things you wrote. So refreshing to be reminded that a speech disorder is easier to treat than a character defect. As parents, we know this, but it is reassuring to hear. This culture of cruelty you speak of is wrong. Showing the world there is a better way is the path forward. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words.

  134. @Alex Hay III If you haven't done it already, please have your child evaluated by the Child Study Team at his school, which will include an assessment by a speech/language therapist. He or she can teach your son techniques to reduce his anxiety and improve his fluency. Please, ASAP. Speech therapy at an early age has made a tremendous difference in many people's lives.

  135. may I suggest you find a choir for your son? he sounds very determined and will succeed in that adventure. Plus it's fun and gets your endorphins going and, as Sully pointed out, it worked for him!

  136. Capt. Sullenberger reminded us that nobody is perfect, yet some of us are great. Among the great I include Capt. Sullenberger and Vice President Joe Biden. As for Trump, well, let’s say humanity won’t miss him.

  137. Thank you Mr. Sullenberger, a second time, for your service to humanity.

  138. What a beautiful piece. Thank you for your kind, kind heart.

  139. There is a much deeper message here, which I surely hope is being heard, really heard, by at least some of those in lock step with supporting the national nightmare that is this presidency and this senate. It is the message of decency, and its importance to a truly civil life. Words that finally brought down the national nightmare of McCarthy. At long last, have you no decency.

  140. Thank you Capt. Sullenberger for expressing so eloquently what the Current Occupant and his family lack: kindness, politeness, respect and bravery. I wish more people like you would stand up and tell the truth with dignity and courage.

  141. Thank you for pointing out the obvious. Sadly, it had to be pointed out in 2020.

  142. Mr. Sullenberger, People have called you a hero because of what you did that day in 2009. You did your job as many others would have, and I have admired you since as many others have. To me, a true hero, however, you became today.

  143. @Randy Many others may have tried. How many could have landed that plane in "water" is a big question. It could have flipped, or a wing tip going into the river, spinning the plane to oblivion.

  144. Capt. Sullenberger - you are a true and a real hero. You are a leader whom we all should emulate in our own lives. Thank you.

  145. The best role models for children to learn kindness, empathy and all the other positive behaviors are from their parents and grandparents. I am assuming from Lara’s husband’s upbringing in the Trump family, that is the opposite. Cruelty to others seems to be the way of life for the Trumps. I feel very sorry for the next generation of Trump children to be raised in an atmosphere of being cruel(and hate) to others is just ok. And that Be Best campaign that her mother in law is in charge is sure failing in that family.

  146. Thank you, Mr. Sullenberger. Your article underscores the importance of civil discourse.

  147. It is Trump’s own severe and worsening difficulty with language that is prompting his people to try and change the subject. He is losing word choice and pronunciation. And they all fall back on school yard taunts. I am so ready for the world to be civil again. Thank you Capt. Sully. We all should have learned not to mock each other by the time we got to kindergarten.

  148. Thank you so much for this piece! I cried when reading it. As the mother of a child with speech problems, I have felt so much fear for him- fear he will not be respected, or taken seriously. After years of work, his speech is almost completely normal, but he is left with a lot of anxiety that was the result of being told over and over again that he wasn’t speaking correctly. It really affected his sense of self confidence. And that’s what we work on now. Hearing from somebody I have so much respect for, of their story of overcoming their speech issue to become a national hero, well it means so much to me. Thank you for the inspiration, and the kind words.

  149. Captain Sullenberger, by saving an airline full of passengers from perishing, you are a hero. And publishing these well-spoken words makes you a hero again. Thank you. We can watch comedians who make fun of physical characteristics of politicians, but that is in a different format from a political rally. A comedian is looking to get laughs. A rally is a place to sell yourself to the voters, by talking about how you will do the job better than the other guy. A politician who resorts to name calling and insults makes me think he is trying to make himself look better by making his opponent look small. Not a sign of good character, and I would never vote for someone who conducts himself--or herself--that way.

  150. A superb example of character, empathy, courage, and thoughtfulness. If only more Americans could get beyond self-absorption, the focus on money and power, and righteousness. Sadly, I fear more than 50% would be unmoved, complacent, or cowardly, and the resulting lack of moral authority is leading to our loss of influence in the world. I can only a hope a few who read this are moved towards self-reflection and change.

  151. This is a great discussion. There are so many, many of us. I had an opportunity Wednesday to thank a speech therapist who is coordinating one of my classes for superannuated adults. Bless her and all those who have helped us along the way. I'm 76, and I still stutter on a word or two and do word shuffling to avoid stuttering. It gets better, but it never completely goes away.

  152. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." Brilliantly said, and sadly true.

  153. Thanks for your opinion piece. The thoughts and feelings you shared should touch all of us. I am a retired psychologist who spent decades working with young people with disabilities including cerebral palsy. They all struggled to be accepted. They had all been bullied, teased and mocked. It broke their hearts, and mine upon hearing their stories. Schools and mental health agencies have worked for decades to change perceptions of and attitudes toward the many of us who struggle with challenges. It has been a long struggle but I think progress has been made. I remember seeing Donald Trump mock the physically impaired reporter who might have criticized him. It brought back all those painful memories. I was enraged at the hurt that the reporter must have suffered. However, I was even more concerned about the harm he had done to the effort to normalize the lives of the disabled. Trump is a role model whether he likes it or not, and his despicable behavior will be repeated many times over. This is the legacy of the Trump family

  154. @James LaCombe I suspect Mr. Sullenberger was speaking rhetorically when he "dared" Lara Trump to mock him. Of course she would mock him. A character-defective person safe and synergized in the cocoon of her character-defective clan will have no compunctions against mocking any and everyone.

  155. It's not a character defect. It's a carefully crafted and purposefully designed act of cruelty - and perpetuating the continued demise of the United States as having moral authority regarding anything. I'm so heartbroken for the next generation, being subjected to this non-discourse of modern shouting and fighting, but I know that this fight is worth fighting - and this piece was energizing to me, knowing that those with the bigger picture in mind and humanity in their hearts are truly what make America great. Thank you sir!

  156. @Warren S: Someone who carefully crafts an act of cruelty does, IMO, have a massive character defect. But that's just me.

  157. @Susan No, it's me too.

  158. With all the ugliness we hear every day from so many of those who purport to be the leaders of this country, it is refreshing to be reminded that are still people who are good and decent and treat others with the respect every person deserves. For that, Sully, we thank you.

  159. No matter who you are you shouldn’t have to worry about being mocked for a speech difference. And I’d say that most people certainly don’t have to worry about it from almost anyone with a modicum of empathy or at least civility. Sadly though it seems many of the Trumps are all lacking this basic human decency.

  160. @AJ Apparently the Trumps seek out and marry the same.

  161. It is not about Biden’s speech. That is a distraction. It is about his failing track record on progressive issues that should be the focus. We need a 21st century President to face America’s 21st century challenges, not a 20th century man.

  162. @JDK The article, as most of the perceptive was meant to draw attention to stuttering, using a prominent person in Biden as a positive example. If this is a distraction from "the progressive issues that should be the focus," then let's compare Biden's record on this versus Trump's.

  163. JDK's failure to identify the meaning of this column is obvious, although Mr. Sullenberger couldn't have been more clear. Like a stutterer must take the time to focus on their words, JDK shouldn't be afraid to take the time to understand what he or she is reading. Communication is terribly complicated, and terribly important. The value of taking the appropriate time needed to express one's thoughts, or to internalize another's views, cannot be overstated. This was a beautiful and powerful column Mr. Sullenberger. Bravo.

  164. @JDK The point of the article was about speech and mean spirited remarks from the current 'president's' family. It had nothing to do with the 20th or 21st century. I sure hope you don't consider trump a 21st century man as he refuses to deal with any important issues and is making the world way more unhealthy in many ways.

  165. I did notice on the debate stage something different about the way Biden speaks sometimes but I did not know he had a stuttering issue. I just thought it had to with a bit of slowing down with age or that he had difficulty finding words. My sister has a stutter, it has gotten better as she has gotten older but it still comes out sometimes. I hope parents with children with a stutter will read your thoughtful and inspirational words to them.

  166. Thank you Capt Sullenberger for calling attention to this important issue, and for your most thoughtful words. No one should ever be mocked or marginalized because of a disability. I am the mother of a young man who stutters, and I am so proud of John for his grace, persistence, decency and achievements. He wrote about both his struggles, and Biden's, in this powerful piece.

  167. Bravo! Thank you for these comments. I had a severe speech impediment as a child. It took a couple of years of speech therapy to overcome it and to this day, I choose my words carefully. I would strongly suggest that Lara Trump do the same.

  168. When one brings attention to another's speech pattern, skin pigment, physical appearance, doesn't say anything about that person--it says volumes about the one speaking

  169. Right on, Captain! And it's not just Trump and his family that are at fault here. Every review of every debate has criticized Biden for "tripping" over his words or some similar superficial error. I've always wondered why nobody was sensitive to his historical stuttering issue. But then again, most of the debate critiques are similarly superficial and meaningless. We really do need a better system for picking our nominees!

  170. Thank you and well said. We need to return to decency and respect for others.

  171. Bravo indeed. Can we put this message on billboards all over the country, please!

  172. This is such a wonderful story, and I thank Mr. Sullenberger for his courage, in every way, for sharing it. As a teacher, I am extra sensitive to EVERY student who may have a challenge to face, and I have dedicated my life to seeing how I could help them. This is heartwarming, in a time when we really need to have our hearts warmed. Please, fellow citizens, be kind. Be compassionate. Let us help one another, not tear each other apart.

  173. Compare Mr. Sullenberger's competence, bravery, eloquence, and empathy to, well, you know who.

  174. Just when I thought that I couldn't admire this beloved hero any more, Captain Sully shows yet again what a national treasure he is. "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." Amen, Captain.

  175. @Lisa No. 17 I read Captain Sullenbergers book and the most important thing I got out of it was him saying how he was famous after his emergency landing but how before that he had been doing his job unnoticed till that near disaster. He was pointing out he had been doing his job well for years before this and there were plenty like him who do their jobs well without fanfare. How many of us would know about Marie Yovanavich and what an upstanding honorable person she is except for the impeachment trial. When I was younger I didn't trust government or government officials but over the years I realized how wrong I was. Back then I would have been an avid believer in a nefarious deep state but now I see them as competent honest hardworking citizens and we all should emulate them.

  176. Mr. Sullenberger's article is inspiring, it is nice to be reminded that their are genuinely nice people in this country. This society on the whole needed to and needs to be elevated, the trump culture has done the opposite.

  177. I stutter. Stuttering creates a stigma that can be suffocating. It inhibits social interactions, causes depression and anxiety, and worst of all, social isolation. When I was in my late 20's, a speech therapist at UCLA helped me understand that my disability was being greatly aided by my fear of non-fluency. By embracing my fear, purposely stuttering, I was able to significantly increase my fluency. I was able to erase my personal stigma of stuttering. Now when I talk in public, I start by asking the audience if they have seen the movie "The King's Speech". I tell them I stuttered worse than King George VI. I tell the audience of my experience, that I am open about it, I may occasionally stutter, but I am not worried about it, and I hope they will understand. Works every time. Overcoming my fear of speaking has been one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. I am proud to be associated with Bill Walton, Winston Churchill, and James Earl Jones. I am a respected physician who has taught at the University of Utah and Dartmouth medical schools. I openly discuss it with my patients. It helps me connect with them on a human level. Ignorance and insensitivity to stutterers amplifies our fears and inhibits our fluency. Stuttering is not a character flaw. It's time we create constructive understanding regarding a common disability.

  178. @Steve Thanks for sharing Steve

  179. As a lifelong stutterer, I applaud Capt. Sullenberger’s comments, along with his lifetime of service, courage and humanity. He is an example to us all. As for Lara Trump, all I can say is: consider the source.

  180. I’m hoping the talking heads this Sunday pick up on this piece and reference it on their shows. Thus far their main focus seems to have been on the fact that Biden hesitates or stumbles on occasion without ever mentioning the likely cause.

  181. Thank you! I cannot understand why the family Trump continues to try to appeal to the worst in us and why some people respond to that. Hoping those of us who are decent, like you, will speak with one voice in the upcoming election and bring back some sense of honor to our democracy.

  182. Especially since most of his grandchildren are in schools for children with learning challenges.

  183. @Linda Susanand Ah, yes: they are the masters of projection.

  184. @Carol Wonderful reply!

  185. My brother-in-law was a stutterer and my daughter is a speech pathologist. Both would appreciate your powerful words as you enlightened all of us as to the lasting effects of memories of the cruelty of others and the utter nonsense of judging others by the less-than-perfect characteristics that pertain to us all. That you use an example from a family that should be leading our nation by example makes the wisdom of your words so much more relevant. You perhaps reveal for us all far more than you intended.

  186. In writing these encouraging words for those who stutter, Capt. Sullenberger has sent an eloquent message to all of us, to those who suffer from some irregularity in our make-up, some disability, some out-of-the-mainstream beliefs, to those who speak with an accent, to those who are subjected to prejudice and disfavor. These bracing words are nothing less than a plea for more civility, more compassion, kindness and respect for individual differences, and a challenge to all of us to overcome whatever is holding us back.

  187. A great story and I'm sure these words of encouragement will be helpful to thousands of people who read them. But, they're wasted on people like Lara Trump and her family. This is a family who has ostracized one of their own because she's perceived, by them, to not be pretty or thin enough. And she's related to them. So, they have absolutely no kindness or empathy to offer others. This same type of behavior is exhibited on an almost daily and changing way by Donald Trump himself. It doesn't seem to affect his level of support with millions of like-minded Americans, though.

  188. As a lifelong stutterer, I have to say that Became a really careful listener. Of course I as always listening to people speaking and always aware of when they stumbled over words. Being a careful listener has also been helpful as a teacher. Have taught since 1969. So I will add here: anyone think our current president is a good listener??

  189. So sad that Mr Sully's eloquent remarks need to be made . I'd only add that cruelty comes from all sides and ending it should be a bipartisan aspiration!

  190. My son stuttered when he was young. I sought professional help and was very glad to find out a national respected leader in speech pathology was in our local university. She had programs at the school that the public could use. My son is grown up now and is not worse for wear. He still stutters a little from time to time, no big deal. The plight of stutterers would not be bad for no other reason that selfish and shallow people like Lara Trump exist. At every turn the Trump family seems to have a competition of who can go lower. And they keep beating each other to achieve that result.

  191. Capt. Sullenberger has written a beautiful article that sheds light on a speech impediment that is not uncommon. One of my uncles stuttered--but not when he sang...Evidently ugly unkindness is a Trump family trait. Hopefully the next First Family sets a more positive example of American character.

  192. Beautiful essay, thank you so much Captain Sully. Compassion is wisdom and heart, which Joe Biden has in large quantity. Again what a lovely piece.

  193. Thank you for saying so eloquently what needs to be said. We need to condemn cruelty and foster sensitivity and empathy. It’s the only way forward.

  194. Thank you Captain! This was a beautiful piece.

  195. None of this means we should grade on a curve, or nominate someone less sharp. Biden has seen better days. Lots of great minds to choose. Enough word salad in our leaders.

  196. We are in a battle with the "culture of cruelty" as Mr. Sullenberger has labeled it. - It is more than a battle, it is a war of survival and a war to see if democracy will be something available to the everyday person in the USA. I am sure Joe Biden is good person, but he doesn't have the vision that I am looking for in a president. I see no reason to tease or demean Joe Biden.

  197. @gern blansten Oh my, stuttering is not an indication of lesser intelligence. To suggest it is is highly questionable. And Biden's not an old coat you toss, he's a human being deserving of being seen as valuable regardless of whether one chooses to vote for him or not. I'm more concerned with clean air and water, informed judges, access to medical care and on and on than I am with the occasional flub when someone is speaking.

  198. @gern blansten This is nonsense. Biden didn't do very well in his early debates, partly because he was out of practice and perhaps partly because he was trying to conceal his stutter. But in recent debates, he's demonstrated that he's plenty "sharp" and more than a match for Trump. Also Biden is the candidate who can win -- that's why Trump committed impeachable offenses to hurt his chances.

  199. Wow, what a well written piece and so true. I have so much respect for Mr. Sulley and Mr. Biden. We could use a lot more decency in the world right now. I am thankful for role models such as them. Please, to every registered voter, please vote this year...each and every vote counts, despite the problems with the electoral college.

  200. Thank you for your amazing call to respect the dignity of every human being and to stand in solidarity with the victims of those who don't. Many of us grew up with physical disabilities that made us the laughingstock of our peers. Many of us experienced soul crushing derision and laughter that confirmed our deepest fears that we would never really belong anywhere. A few of us experienced the kind of courageous intervention you model here and found it life changing. I fear that the price of sustained proximity to Trump is the erosion of soul demonstrated by Lara Trump's comments regarding Joe Biden, and that is both scary and sad. When you no longer see others as fully human, any act of cruelty becomes possible, but the universe is wired in such a way that your derision toward others as less than human redounds to your own loss of humanity and eventually to the death of your own soul, hence Nietzsche's warning. "Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster."

  201. A lot of commenters have focused on the essay's sentence, "A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect." I think the one that follows it is even better, "You become a true leader, not because of how you speak, but because of what you have to say — and the challenges you have overcome to help others."

  202. @Ed Levinson yes, the best part od the whole article

  203. I thank you for quick thinking and exceptional skills in saving those lives years ago. I also thank you for using your perspectives and clarity to speak up against injustices.

  204. Thank you, Mr. Sullenberger, for being a much bigger person than the ones who poke fun at other people's difficulties. Your OpEd is beautifully written.

  205. Thank you sir. Your message of tolerance, understanding and support needs to ring from every corner in this land.

  206. One of the best and worst things I've done for myself was to dislocate a hip. Although I wouldn't wish that on anyone, the dislocation put me on crutches for the better part of a week and showed me how different life is when you can't keep up with others. The vast majority of people were considerate of my situation but there were a few who saw me as an inconvenience. I'm a better person for my experience. I learned from it. It's a shame Lara Trump can't say the same about hers.

  207. Lara Trump's uncivil utterances and Capt. Sullenberger's compassionate essay lead me back to a question I have been asking myself since Election Night 2016: What led Americans to exact so much cruelty on one another? Until we address that question head-on -- and soon -- there is no way this country can hold together.

  208. @Sennheiser416, this is a very pertinent question, and I agree with you that we must answer it soon if our country is to survive.

  209. @Sennheiser416 Arguments and fights between family are always the most vicious. People that are economically and academically challenged have seen the American Dream slip further and further from their grasp.

  210. Oops, I hit "submit" too soon - I wanted to offer my hypothesis: We Americans have been deluded into thinking that success is a zero-sum game. We've been bamboozled into a scarcity mindset. To me, the state of our society is similar to a dysfunctional family, where abusive parents cultivate competition amongst their children, making them believe that there's only so much love and approval to go around (when the real truth is that the parents are entirely incapable of love at all, and are using their competing children as their narcissistic supply). Similarly, most of our current leadership (political, corporate, clerical, etc) is devoid of the type of leadership that Sully exemplifies. We think (with good reason) that we're in danger, and we've become cruel because we think it's the only way to survive.