Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Community Voices is generously supported by The Minneapolis Foundation; learn why.

What would you like to hear on Inauguration Day?

As you compose what you would like to hear, I share with you excerpts from my Hamline students’ addresses.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Electoral College has voted and the Cabinet is taking shape. Now our attention turns to the inauguration. This fall I had the opportunity to teach a first-year seminar of Hamline students on the presidential election. Their final assignment was for them to write an address that they would like to hear Trump give, or one they would give if they had just been elected. As you compose what you would like to hear, I share with you excerpts from their addresses:

Jim Scheibel

The United States has been battling domestic poverty too long…. Within the first 100 days I will propose to Congress a $15/hour minimum wage, increasing the tax credit for those living in poverty with minimum jobs that work full time but still cannot make a living.

I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty. If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.

A good friend of mine once said that we are stronger together as a nation. I couldn’t agree more. When we all stand up and fight together for what we believe in we can truly accomplish anything.

Article continues after advertisement

My first act while in office will be persuing the addition of the Equal Right Amendment, guaranteeing equal rights for all American citizens, regardless of their gender. This amendment should have been adopted in 1923 when it was first proposed and each time after when it was ratified.

I plan on building on some of President Obama’s fiercely sought after changes to America, such as health care, immigrant policies and increased government funding toward protecting individual’s personal rights such as same sex marriage equality.

I truly believe in the innate goodness and responsibility of each American, which is why I promise to bring the power back to the American individual. Not the government, not to the corporations, and not to the political machine, but to American people.

If we are simply all talk and no action we will go nowhere. A track star does not just wish to be the greatest. They must set their goals and train hard. They sweat, they bleed, and they crawl to the end of the finish line. It is hard work like this that makes dreams happen.

Democracy is defined in America as the government of the people, and by the people. I wouldn’t be standing here today if it weren’t for extraordinary support of ordinary citizens. The word extraordinary is made by simply by adding “extra.” As citizens of this nation, we are called to be extraordinary. 

To keep up with competition we need to be better. We need to produce goods of higher quality faster. We need to produce goods that are innovative and have global appeal. America is great because of its ingenuity, its drive in pursuit of excellence.

Most people do not identify as a “Republican” or “Democrat,” and this antiquated duality is disenfranchising the electorate. Even those who ascribe to affiliation, the parties have become beholden to special interests and big donors. They are no longer accountable to the people that gave them power, and it’s time we take back our government.

If we want to have an America that is becoming better and becoming greater, we need to have equality, therefore we need to stop discriminating against women and empower women. If we empower women se will eventually see an America with equality, therefore, a better and greater America.

How can we preach about freedom when we threaten to take away rights from women, the freedom to marry someone who isn’t of the opposite sex, or deny the injustices against people of color that still occur today?

Clean energy is a growing issue that has been ignored for the past couple of decades. We as a nation need to understand that it is actually a serious matter, and not just a “hoax” created by the Chinese government. We must start considering using solar panels, wind energy or even wave turbulence to start protecting our environment.

We the citizens need to unite as one. The first step for us to be united with one another is to overcome the differences in each other and be able to see the goodness in one another. Don’t dwell on someone’s beliefs, skin tone or race.

My goal is that we all work with one another, for one another. I hope that we can all show each other the same compassion and generosity that we would show a child or close friend. I want to work for all of you, and I’d love it if all of you would work for one another.

In reality, talk is cheap, so I am here today in front of my lovely nation promising to prove that I am not cheap. I will do whatever it takes to protect and continue to prosper as a nation.

I would like to see the change in presidency that the Electoral College is not a win or take all system state by state. I believe that form of voting isn’t a full democracy the way we say it is.

My final dream for this country is that there is unity. My ideal wish is that everyone would be welcome here and that people will no longer feel the pressure to assimilate in order to belong. Our country is made up by a variety of people with all kinds of backgrounds and ideologies, which should be embraced and not stopped.

Jim Scheibel, a former mayor of St. Paul, is Professor of Practice in the Management, Marketing and Public Administration Department, Hamline University. He is a former director of both AmeriCorps VISTA and the Senior Corps. 


If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at