Vaclav Havel, New Year's Day speech, 1990

One of this week’s subjects is inaugural addresses. From Havel we learn three things:

  1. A good opening does half your work.
  2. If you are presenting yourself as a change agent, make sure you change something.
  3. The only way to say something real is to say it. You can’t fake substance with fancy words.

My dear fellow citizens,
For forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations on the same theme: how our country was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us.

I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you.

The rest is here.