You are ready to strike out on your own.
I want to talk about the values that will carry you–-and the nation--to an even brighter future. Old-fashioned, I know, but values that will help us all navigate this recession, strengthen our institutions, and find new ways to move America forward.
Honesty, integrity, humility, and above all, respect.
These are not empty words, but a way of life. Just how do we live this humility and respect?
- An ability to listen, to consider points of view that differ from your own.
- A willingness to serve, whether a single community or an entire nation.
- A commitment to try to make progress on issues where both sides disagree, even if it doesn’t get you all the way to your goal.
These are values we have come dangerously close to abandoning when our society has deeply and angrily divided over issues. Yet I’m standing here in front of you today because these values work. If they didn't, I would not have been appointed as a Cabinet Secretary by a man who happens to be a Democrat while I am a lifelong Republican.
The President and I do not see eye-to-eye on every issue. So what? Good people disagree with each other. Have enough humility about your own position and enough respect for other people to consider their points-of-view. Engage. Be part of the debate. Search for solutions that work for all of us...
For audio of the complete speech at Monmouth College, please listen to the MP3 file from WGIL.
For video of the complete speech at University of Illinois Law School, please visit YouTube.