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献给奥巴马的颂歌

更新时间:2017-1-13 10:46:48 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Ode to Obama
献给奥巴马的颂歌

The dark clouds of the coming administration rolled in this week with a fury, producing a flood of strange and worrisome news.

本周,即将上任的新政府的乌云卷着狂怒滚滚而来,产生了一大批奇怪而令人担忧的新闻。

There was the utterly terrifying confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions as our next attorney general, at which he signaled in no uncertain terms his hostility to the protective posture that the Justice Department has taken to safeguard vulnerable populations over the last eight years.

首先是确定杰夫·塞申斯(Jeff Sessions)担任下任司法部长的那场可怕至极的听证会。他在会上明确表示,反对过去八年里司法部对弱势群体采取的保护性姿态。

There was the long-awaited news conference conducted by the president-elect that, predictably, turned into a circus of boasting, hubris, hostility, distraction and deflection.

还有等待已久的候任总统的新闻发布会,它毫不意外地变成了吹嘘、傲慢、敌对、疯狂和歪曲事实的喧闹场面。

And then there was the release of the unsubstantiated intelligence report, with its nausea-inducing claims, which I don’t know what to do with.

然后是未经证实的情报报告的公布,其中含有令人作呕的陈述,对此我不知该作何反应。

But there was a calm in the midst of the storm, a rock of familiarity and stability and strength: On Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his farewell address in his adopted hometown, Chicago, as a forlorn crowd looked on, realizing the magnitude of the moment, realizing the profundity of its loss.

但是,在这狂风暴雨之中,还有一丝平静,有一块亲切、沉稳、强大的磐石:周二晚上,奥巴马总统在自己的第二故乡芝加哥发表了告别演说,悲伤的人群意识到这个时刻的重要性,也意识到自己的损失是多么深重。

As the old saying goes: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

老话说:失去才知珍贵。

Whether you have approved of the Obama presidency as a matter of policy or not, it is impossible to argue that Obama was not a man of principle. Whether you agree with individual decisions or the content of his rhetoric, it is impossible to argue that he did not conduct himself with dignity and respect and that he did not lead the country with those values as a guiding light.

不管从政策角度你是否赞赏奥巴马的总统任期,你都不可能否认他是个有原则的人。不管你是否赞同他的个人决定或言辞内容,你都不可能否认他是一个庄重可敬的人,他以这些价值观为指路明灯领导这个国家。

I have not always agreed with the president’s positions or tactics, and this feels normal to me. Freethinking people are bound to disagree occasionally, even if a vast majority of their values align.

我并不总是赞同这位总统的立场或策略,这在我看来很正常。思想自由的人肯定会偶尔有分歧,尽管他们的价值观绝大部分一致。

I was particularly frustrated with what I believed was his misreading and underestimation of the intensity of the opposition he faced, and his approach of being a gentleman soldier in a guerrilla war. I was harsh in my critique; some would say too harsh. In 2009, I wrote: “The president wears outrage like another man’s suit. It doesn’t quite fit.” In 2011, I called him “a robotic Sustainer-in-Chief.”

尤其令我沮丧的是,我认为他误解和低估了对手的强大,他在一场游击战中表现得像个文雅的士兵。我的批评很尖刻,有时可以说太过尖刻了。2009年,我写道:“这位总统的愤慨像是别人的衣服,不太合身。”2011年,我称他是“机械呆板的维持者总司令”。

But none of those differences in opinions about strategy injured in any way my profound respect for the characteristics of the man we came to take for granted: bracingly smart, exceptionally well educated, literate in the grand tradition of the great men of letters. He was scholarly, erudite, well read and an adroit writer.

但是,那些关于策略的观点分歧绝不会影响我对他人品的敬重——这些都是我们已经习以为常的:令人鼓舞的机智,受过非常良好的教育,秉承文人雅士传统的修养。他博学,多闻,是一名优秀的写作者。

And he was an orator for the ages. We got so used to elegant, sometimes masterly speechifying, that I will admit I sometimes tuned it out. We had an abundance of riches in that regard.

多年来,他一直是一名杰出的演说家。我们已经习惯了他的优雅,有时候已经成了技艺精湛的絮叨,我得承认有时我都懒得听了。在这方面,我们坐拥着一笔巨大的财富。

But listening to the president’s farewell address, I was hit with the force of a brawler that the decency and dignity, the solemnity and splendor, the loftiness and literacy that Obama brought to the office was extraordinary and anomalous, the kind of thing that each generation may only hope to have in a president.

但是,在聆听总统的告别演说时,我被雄辩者的力量震撼了。奥巴马给白宫带来的体面和尊严、庄重和壮丽、高尚和文雅是非同寻常、无与伦比的,是不管哪一代人都希望在总统身上看到的气质。

In a way, it was the small things, the way he made reference to Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird” in his discussion of race relations in this country. It was the ease of confidence that comes from having read the book and not just the speechwriter’s script.

从某种意义上讲,这些都体现在小事中,体现在他谈起这个国家的种族关系时会引用《杀死一只知更鸟》(To Kill a Mockingbird)中的阿蒂克斯·芬奇(Atticus Finch)。体现在那种因为读过那本书而不只是在讲稿中看到这个名字而产生的自如和自信。

That made me think of the two presidents who will bracket Obama: George W. Bush, who Karl Rove claims was a voracious reader, but whose articulation and disposition betrayed a man struggling for intellectual adequacy, and Donald Trump, a man who comes across as possessing more anger than acumen and whose ghostwriter said of him: “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.”

那让我想起奥巴马的前任和继任总统:乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)和唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)。卡尔·罗夫(Karl Rove)说布什特别爱读书,但他的言谈举止暴露出他在知识涵养上捉襟见肘;而特朗普像是一个拥有更多愤怒而非敏锐的人,他的代笔者这样评论他:“我真的怀疑特朗普在成年之后没有完整读过一本书。”

Even more impressive is Obama’s skill for raising and parsing delicate issues like race, so that all of the people involved feel respected and represented, so that all participants in the debate feel that they have been truly heard and seen.

更令人印象深刻的是奥巴马在提到和分析种族等敏感话题时的技巧,他让所有牵涉其中的人觉得自己得到尊重和代表,让辩论中的所有参与者觉得自己被聆听和看到。

He hasn’t always gotten this right. No human being has always gotten everything right. Holding him to that impossible standard hardly seems fair. But he started from a very strong and respectable position and has grown even more steady and sure from there.

他不见得总是对的。没有哪个人总能把所有的事情都做对。让他达到那个不可能的标准似乎是不公平的。但他有一个非常强大而可敬的起点,并且会变得更加稳定而可靠。

So as the end of his presidency draws close, America is confronted with the reality of what is being lost. It is no wonder that a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday found that “American voters approve 55–39 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, his best approval rating in seven years.” For comparison, Trump’s approval rating as the president-elect is only 37 percent.

所以,在他的总统任期即将结束时,美国人意识到自己面临的损失。难怪周二昆尼皮亚克大学(Quinnipiac University)公布的民意调查显示,“美国选民对贝拉克·奥巴马总统正在进行的工作中的55%至39%持肯定态度,这是他在七年里得到的最高满意度评价。”相比之下,特朗普作为候任总统得到的认可仅为37%。

Obama wasn’t perfect, but neither is anyone — you or I — and neither was any other president. But Obama is a good man and a good president. Some would argue that he was great on both counts.

奥巴马不是完美的,但谁也不是——包括你和我——其他任何总统也不是。但奥巴马是一个好人,一个好总统。有些人甚至可能认为,他是一个伟大的人,一个伟大的总统。

We will remember that — and miss it — when Trump’s whirlwind of scandal, conflict, crudeness, boorishness and vindictiveness barrels into Washington.

我们会记得并怀念这一点——在特朗普带着丑闻、冲突、粗鲁、粗野和报复的旋风闯进华盛顿的时候。

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