Holding elected office is like sitting in the exit row of the airplane.

The exit row is a little wider than the others, so people like to sit there; so much so that some are willing to pay extra to reserve those seats or be first in line to claim them. 99.9% of the time, that's the only thing we ever see about the exit row.

The catch is, there's a reason that row is wider: it's so people can get out the door in an emergency. And anyone who sits in the exit row has to be willing to open that door and assist others in an emergency. Anyone can sign themselves up for that seat, but the flight crew always checks who's sitting there before the plane takes off, and if you're not at least 15 years old, or if you're otherwise unwilling or unable to be responsible in a crisis, they'll make you switch with someone who is before the plane takes off. Airplane crises are thankfully rare, so most people don't seriously think about that catch; they just see the extra leg room.

Elected office comes with at least one crisis per day. We can see who signed themselves up for the exit row, but apparently, we're not always good about determining who can stay there for the flight.

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