- - Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Last fall, this newspaper endorsed your rival in the presidential contest because we believed that he would be the best leader for the nation. That contest is over; the voters have spoken through the same election process that has endured throughout our history.

Today, we wish you fair winds and following seas as you embark upon your presidency.

Like most Americans, we hope that your term of office will be characterized by wise and prudent decisions, by prosperity, and by peace.

We encourage you to build on the successes of your predecessors. Your immediate predecessor, for example, had a variety of accomplishments that should remain as part of the American fabric.

President Trump reoriented American foreign policy toward the threat posed by communist China. He brought a new approach to the Middle East, which has enabled Israel and the Arab States to draw closer and create meaningful diplomatic and commercial ties. He encouraged all involved to reassess the form and purpose of foreign policy approaches that date from World War II.

With respect to the economy, your predecessor was successful in growing both the economy and personal wealth because he understood that low tax rates and a light regulatory hand help companies and people prosper.

He also tried to change trade and immigration policies that place American workers at a disadvantage. We urge you to continue this important work.

You will, as you should, do things differently and emphasize different policies. You were elected in part to turn the page, turn volume down a bit and return government to more regular order.

Listen to all. Remember the admonition from Proverbs: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

When something is a good idea, it survives. When it isn’t, it does not. Remember that nothing is more fleeting than political victories or defeats. No one election cycle is dispositive in the course of the nation.

When political competition becomes tangled with self-worth and identity, when it becomes about who is good and bad rather than what is the right or wrong course, the stage is set for conflict. Embedded in condemnations of the ideas offered by those with whom we disagree are healthy measures of arrogance.

Retain a decent amount of humility about what you can do, what government can do, and what can be done. As the psalmist noted: “He guides the humble in what is right.”

Resist the impulse to extremes. Appreciate the value of incrementalism.

You’ll make mistakes; that’s all right. The American people don’t expect perfection; they expect effort and honesty. Learn from the mistakes. Have the courage to say when you don’t know something or when you’ve made a mistake.

Remember the forgotten men and women of the nation. You, like many, are acquainted with grief and sorrow and you have won and lost many times throughout your life. Use that rich experience to help your fellow countrymen who struggle with burdens seen and unseen every day.

Make no mistake; we will disagree — probably often — in the coming days. When we think you are wrong, we will say it. When we think you right, we will say that, too.

The way to the truth is not through silencing or ignoring those with whom with we disagree. Truth is arrived at through conversation, disagreement, dispute and contest. We hope that our disagreements will be direct, respectful and animated by the spirit of seeking the best path.

The fates of all Americans now living and those yet to be born, are tied, partially if not substantially, to your ability to lead the nation. Fate or destiny or God has put you in this place at this time.

As you know, the oath of office is a solemn and terrible charge; it is essentially the same oath you have sworn to at least eight times already. The gravity of the responsibility weighs on most of those who take it almost immediately. It falls to you to raise your hand and take the oath at one of the most consequential moments in our nation’s history.

In the wake of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia statesman John Page asked Thomas Jefferson: “Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?”

We do. We also are confident that you will uphold the oath, and will, with God’s help and to the best of your ability, preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Good luck, Mr. President. We wish you nothing but the best.

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