November 30, 2023

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‘Sully’ and other problem-solving citizens advise Congress on gridlock

As the national capital, Washington is the place aspiring and veteran navel-gazers converge, endlessly analyzing wrinkles in American politics that average Americans don’t even see.

It’s an art and an industry. Ideally, they would value the perspectives of farmers and firefighters, teachers and truck drivers – welcoming their ideas and refining them through all this thinking and talking. 

But sometimes those ideas instead get mired in bureaucracy, hierarchy, or party politics. And now, amid deepening partisanship, many feel the wheels of Congress have largely ground to a halt. That has led to a crisis of public confidence in the institution. Only 2% of Americans today have a “great deal” of trust in Congress, the lowest figure in 50 years of Gallup polling.

Why We Wrote This

Gridlock slows Congress, but in their own work, everyday citizens have to keep solving problems or face the consequences. We asked for their practical advice for the new Congress.

Civilians don’t have the luxury of letting things grind to a halt in their trades, businesses, or local PTAs. They have to keep solving problems, or face the consequences. So as the new Congress begins today, we offer the perspectives of three individuals who have navigated crises in which stalemate or failure was not an option. 

Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who made a forced landing on the Hudson River in January 2009, addresses the importance of continuing to take decisive action even when you don’t have good options.