Be quiet and listen. Just listen. The voices of the American people are crying out to you. Some are rejoicing. Some are in anguish, but all have a voice that deserves to be heard. One of the strengths of our great country is that it is a melting pot of diverse backgrounds and heritages. For over 200 years, we have been known as a beacon of opportunity to the world. Your ancestors and mine traveled to this country seeking a better life. And, we all want a better life for our children. So I urge you to please listen. Listen to the voices of every American as she or he tells you what they need to make their lives and the lives of their children better. Some will speak about economic opportunity. Some may voice concerns about the safety of our country and American values. Some may speak of their own personal safety and protecting their civil rights. Some may not be able to speak. Their voices have been systematically suppressed. Even these people, need to be invited to speak and be heard. Every person has a story, and, to lead the United States, it is imperative that you listen to these stories in order to truly understand the people and what they need.
As the American president, you have accepted the responsibility to serve others. You do not have the luxury of selecting whom you serve. You have accepted the task of serving every American and you can learn from the wealth of wisdom of your predecessors. Let their advice guide you.
John Quincy Adams described the makings of a true leader, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Teddy Roosevelt urges the acceptance of criticism, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Ronald Reagan believed in the value of kindness and generosity, “Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”