And so here, where democracy was born, we affirm once more the rights and the ideals and the institutions upon which our way of life endures. Freedom of speech and assembly — because true legitimacy can only come from the people, who must never be silenced. A free press to expose injustice and corruption and hold leaders accountable. Freedom of religion — because we’re all equal in the eyes of God. Independent judiciaries to uphold rule of law and human rights. Separation of powers to limit the reach of any one branch of government. Free and fair elections — because citizens must be able to choose their own leaders, even if your candidate doesn’t always win. (Laughter.)
We compete hard in campaigns in America and here in Greece. But after the election, democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power, especially when you don’t get the result you want. (Applause.)
And as you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different. (Applause.) We have very different points of view, but American democracy is bigger than any one person. (Applause.) That’s why we have a tradition of the outgoing president welcoming the new one in — as I did last week. And why, in the coming weeks, my administration will do everything we can to support the smoothest transition possible
— because that’s how democracy has to work. (Applause.)
And that’s why, as hard as it can be sometimes, it’s important for young people, in particular, who are just now becoming involved in the lives of their countries, to understand that progress follows a winding path — sometimes forward, sometimes back — but as long as we retain our faith in democracy, as long as we retain our faith in the people, as long as we don’t waver from those central principles that ensure a lively, open debate, then our future will be okay, because it remains the most effective form of government ever devised by man.