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民主党全国大会上,奥巴马严酷而不同寻常的演讲

From Obama, Plenty of Drama in a Rare Display at the Democratic Convention
民主党全国大会上,奥巴马严酷而不同寻常的演讲

WASHINGTON — There was a moment during his Democratic National Convention speech on Wednesday night when former President Barack Obama appeared on the edge of tears. Evoking American ancestors persecuted because of their race, religion or nationality, he said they had every reason to give up on democracy but did not.

华盛顿——在周三晚上的民主党全国代表大会演讲中,前总统贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)一度近乎落泪。他提起因种族、宗教或国籍而受到迫害的美国祖先,他说他们本来有充分的理由放弃民主,但他们没有。

In his telling, that is what is at stake at this hinge point in history, nothing less than the future of democracy, and he seemed emotional in a way that the famously stoic former president rarely allows himself to be in public. He talked of “dark times” and “hardship and injustice” and “the meanness and the lies and crazy conspiracy theories.” He declared that this year’s election will determine whether America lives up to its promise.

在他的叙述中,这就是眼下历史关键时刻中利害攸关的大事,民主的未来岌岌可危,他似乎情绪激动,而这位以沉稳著称的前总统很少允许自己在公众面前表现出这一面。他谈到“黑暗时代”、“苦难和不公”、“卑鄙、谎言和疯狂的阴谋论”。他宣称,今年的选举将决定美国能否兑现自己的承诺。
 

前总统贝拉克·奥巴马在费城举行的2020年线上民主党全国代表大会上通过视频发表讲话。

His excoriation of his successor was withering. The incumbent president, he charged, is lazy, uncaring and interested only in drawing attention to himself. President Trump, Mr. Obama said, acts as if he is “above the law,” uses his office “to enrich” himself and his allies, exploits the military “as political props” to be deployed against peaceful protesters, demonizes his opponents and the free press, and disregards science during a deadly pandemic in favor of “just making stuff up.” What’s more, he added, Mr. Trump is trying to suppress the vote to stay in office.

他对他的继任者的批评极其尖刻。他指责现任总统懒惰、冷漠,只想引起人们对自己的关注。奥巴马说,特朗普总统的行为仿佛他“凌驾于法律之上”,使用他的职权为自己和盟友“谋财”,把军队当成对付和平抗议者的“政治道具”,妖魔化对手和新闻自由,在致命的大流行期间无视科学,转而去“凭空捏造”。他还说,更重要的是,特朗普试图压制选票,以便让自己连任。

The 19-minute address, delivered in front of an exhibit titled “Writing the Constitution” at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, reflected a long journey from the hope and change of 2008 when Mr. Obama sailed into the White House on a fundamentally optimistic message that whatever the country’s problems, they could be solved by coming together. Twelve years later, he did not seem quite so certain. With Mr. Trump in the White House, Mr. Obama sounded more worried than perhaps at any point in his public life.

这场19分钟的讲话是在费城的美国革命博物馆(Museum of the American Revolution)一个名叫“书写宪法”的展览上发表的,反思了一段始于2008年的希望与变革的漫长历程,当时的奥巴马携带着一个根本上乐观的讯息入主白宫:无论这个国家有什么问题,只要团结起来就能解决。12年后,他似乎不那么肯定了。特朗普入主白宫后,奥巴马似乎比他在公众生活中的任何时候都更加忧心忡忡。

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama told his audience. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies, so they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.”

“这位总统和那些掌权的人——那些从保持现状中受益的人——他们都指望你们抱着犬儒的态度,”奥巴马对他的听众说。“他们知道他们的政策无法赢得你的支持,所以他们希望尽可能地让你难以投票,并且让你相信你的选票无关紧要。”

“We can’t let that happen,” he added. “Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy.”

“我们不能让这种事发生,”他还说。“不要让他们夺走你的力量。不要让他们夺走你的民主。”

Such an assault by a former president on his successor was stark and unusual, though not unprecedented. Theodore Roosevelt was so harsh toward William Howard Taft that he actually ran against him; he later called Woodrow Wilson “the most wretched creature we have had in the Presidential chair.”

前总统对继任者进行这样的攻击,虽然并非史无前例,但也显得严酷而不同寻常。西奥多·罗斯福(Theodore Roosevelt)对威廉·霍华德·塔夫脱(William Howard Taft)不满到要跟他打选战;他后来还将伍德罗·威尔逊(Woodrow Wilson)称为“我们总统位置上最可鄙的生物”。

Herbert Hoover got up at his party’s convention four years after leaving office and accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of “despotism.” Jimmy Carter called George W. Bush’s administration the “worst in history.”

卸任四年后,赫伯特·胡佛(Herbert Hoover)在民主党全国代表大会上起立,指责富兰克林·D·罗斯福(Franklin D. Roosevelt)的“专制”。吉米·卡特(Jimmy Carter)称乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)政府是“历史上最糟糕的”。

During the midterm campaign in 2018, Mr. Obama traveled the country denouncing Mr. Trump for “lying” and “fear-mongering” and “ripping immigrant children from the arms of their mothers.” But then he went quiet again, largely keeping out of sight until recent days as he began speaking out on behalf of his former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was nominated this week as the Democratic challenger to Mr. Trump.

在2018年中期选举期间,奥巴马在全国各地巡回,谴责特朗普“撒谎”、“制造恐慌”,以及“从母亲手中夺走移民儿童”。但随后他又沉默下来,基本上一直不露面,直到最近几天,他开始为他的前副总统小约瑟夫·R·拜登(Joseph R. Biden Jr.)发声,拜登本周被提名为特朗普的民主党挑战者。

Still, this was Mr. Obama’s most prominent stage since leaving office and his censure of Mr. Trump went further than any of his more recent predecessors, who largely avoided criticizing fellow members of the world’s most exclusive club by name in public. It reflected the deep antipathy the 44th president harbors toward the 45th — one that is mutual, of course, given Mr. Trump’s routine denunciations of Mr. Obama, including unfounded accusations of treason.

不过,这一次是奥巴马离任以来最重要的讲台,他对特朗普的谴责比他最近的任何前任都要深入,那些前任基本上避免在公开场合指名道姓地批评这个世界上最独特的俱乐部的其他成员。这反映了第44任总统对第45任的深深反感——当然,考虑到特朗普经常谴责奥巴马,包括毫无根据的叛国指控,这种反感是相互的。

Indeed, Mr. Trump did not wait for Mr. Obama to finish before responding, posting a couple of Twitter messages in all capital letters as his predecessor was still speaking. “HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT!” Mr. Trump wrote, twisting the known facts to make an uncorroborated charge.

事实上,特朗普没等奥巴马说完就做出了回应,在他的前任还在讲话时,他已经用大写字母发布了几条推文。“他暗中监视我的竞选活动,而且被抓到了!”特朗普写道,这是在歪曲已知事实,提出了一个未经证实的指控。

On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump’s senior adviser, Stephen Miller, fired back as well. “President Obama was one of the worst presidents, if not the worst president, in U.S. history,” he told reporters.

周四上午,特朗普的高级顾问斯蒂芬·米勒(Stephen Miller)也进行了回击。“奥巴马总统是美国历史上最糟糕的总统之一,如果不是唯一最糟糕的话,”他告诉记者。

One of the more curious reactions to Mr. Obama’s stated concern about democracy came from a Trump campaign spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson. “We are NOT a Democracy!!” she wrote on Twitter. “Not understanding this simple, yet critical fact, is likely the root cause of Trump Derangement Syndrome! The United States is a Republic.”

对于奥巴马所表达的对民主的担忧,特朗普竞选团队的发言人卡特丽娜·皮尔逊(Katrina Pierson)做出了更奇怪的回应。“我们不是一个民主政体!!”她在Twitter上写道。“对这个简单而又关键的事实缺乏了解,很可能是‘特朗普精神错乱综合征’的根本原因!美国是一个共和政体。”

While scholars might agree on the distinction between a pure democracy and a republic, in which the views of citizens are reflected by their elected representatives in the capital, it still is pretty unusual politics for a president’s staff to defend him by declaring that America is not a democracy.

虽然学者可能同意纯粹的民主制和共和制之间是有区别的——在共和制中,公民的意见由首都的民选代表反映——但总统的幕僚为他辩护,宣称美国不是民主制,这在政治上仍然很不寻常。

There was no question that democracy was the point for Mr. Obama. He used the word 18 times in his speech, and his presence at the revolution museum in the city where America declared its independence and wrote its Constitution was meant to reinforce the theme.

毫无疑问,民主是奥巴马的重点。在演讲中,他18次使用这个词,而他来到这座美国宣布独立和起草宪法的城市,在革命博物馆发表演讲,就是为了加强这个主题。

“This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” Mr. Obama said.

“这届政府已经表明,只要能赢得选举,就算摧毁我们的民主也在所不惜,”奥巴马说。

The difference between his speech on Wednesday night and his convention speech in 2008 when he accepted the nomination on the road to the White House was striking. Even as he attacked “the failed policies of George W. Bush” on that Denver stage and the Republican choice to succeed him, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the disagreement was over substance, not character or patriotism.

他周三晚上的演讲与2008年他在通往白宫的道路上接受提名时的大会演讲有着惊人的不同。当年,尽管他在丹佛的讲台上攻击了“乔治·W·布什的失败政策”,也攻击了接替布什的共和党人选、亚利桑那州参议员约翰·麦凯恩(John McCain),但双方的分歧以事实为基础,而不是基于性格或爱国主义。

In fact, Mr. Obama couched his criticism of Mr. McCain with praise for serving his country “with bravery and distinction,” saying, “We owe him our gratitude and respect.” Nor did Mr. Obama question his opponent’s devotion to America. “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain,” Mr. Obama told nearly 80,000 supporters gathered at Invesco Field.

事实上,奥巴马在批评麦凯恩时,也赞扬他“勇敢而杰出”地为国家服务,他说,“我们应该感谢他,尊重他。”奥巴马也没有质疑对手对美国的忠诚。奥巴马对聚集在景顺球场的近8万名支持者说:“我爱这个国家,你们也是,麦凯恩也是。”

And while he made the case that Mr. Bush had made a mess of the economy and overseas wars, problems he said that Mr. McCain would perpetuate, Mr. Obama also presented an essentially positive prescription as the crowd waved “CHANGE” signs and chanted “Yes, we can.”

他说布什把经济和海外战争搞得一团糟,他说麦凯恩会让这些问题永久化。与此同时,当人群挥舞着“变革”的标语,高呼“是的,我们可以”时,奥巴马提出了一个本质上是积极的解决方案。

The tale of these two speeches, from 2008 to 2020, is for Mr. Obama the story of the last dozen years, a personal journey from a moment when America was choosing a way forward to a moment when he contends the question is whether America will still be America.

从2008年到2020年的这两场演讲,对奥巴马来说,是过去12年的故事,是他个人的旅程,从美国选择前进道路的时刻,来到他质疑美国是否依然是美国的时刻。
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