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特朗普的美国让我第一次感觉身在异乡

更新时间:2017-6-16 10:31:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

I Thought I Understood America. Then Came Trump.
特朗普的美国让我第一次感觉身在异乡

I first came to America 40 years ago. It was the summer of 1977, and I was 20 years old. Jimmy Carter had moved into the White House a few months earlier. I and five friends rented a motor home in Bethlehem, Pa., and drove manically to Santa Barbara, Calif., and back, following the imperious orders of Fleetwood Mac — “Don’t Stop,” the ubiquitous hit of that summer. The day Elvis Presley died in Memphis — Aug. 16, 1977 — we were driving across the South, not too far away. But our English was tentative, and we missed the news.

我第一次到美国是在40年前。那是1977年的夏天,我20岁。吉米·卡特(Jimmy Carter)已于数月前入主白宫。我和五个朋友在宾夕法尼亚州伯利恒租了一辆房车,遵从佛利伍麦克(Fleetwood Mac)那专横的命令——那年夏天传遍街头巷尾的金曲《不要停》(Don’t Stop)——疯狂开往加利福尼亚州圣巴巴拉,再开回去。埃尔维斯·普莱斯利(Elvis Presley)在孟菲斯去世那天——1977年8月16日——我们正驾车穿越南方,离得不太远。但我们因为英文水平不济而错过了那条消息。

Since then my English has gotten better, and I’ve revisited the United States many times. I’ve come as a tourist, a resident, a husband, a dad and a son — in 1987, my parents ordered me to drive them around Arizona for two weeks. I’ve come as a journalist, a teacher, a lecturer and a writer (I wrote a book about life in America in the carefree mid-1990s).

自那以来,我在英语方面取得了进步,也曾多次重访美国。我曾以游客、居民、丈夫、父亲和儿子的身份前来——1987年,我的父母命我开车带他们在亚利桑那州各处逛了两个星期。我曾以记者、教师、讲师和作家的身份前来(我写了一本书讲述1990年代中期在美国无忧无虑的生活。)

I came for conferences and long train journeys — from Portland, Me., to Portland, Ore.; from Washington, D.C., to Washington State. I’ve come for presidential elections, book tours, sports events and interviews. I remember Madonna, in Los Angeles, who didn’t like me; and Bruce Springsteen, in Buffalo, who during the sound check asked the E Street Band to play “Lost in the Flood” “for our Italian guest.”

我为了研讨会和长途火车旅行而来——从缅因州的波特兰到俄勒冈州的波特兰,从华盛顿特区到华盛顿州。我为总统选举、巡回签售会、体育盛事和采访而来。我记得在洛杉矶遇到的不喜欢我的麦当娜(Madonna),还有在水牛城遇到的布鲁斯·斯普林斯汀(Bruce Springsteen),调音期间他让E大街乐队(E Street Band)“为我们的意大利客人”表演《迷失于洪流》(Lost in the Flood)。

This time, it was for an annual conference designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. It included more than 100 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media, from 30-odd countries. We spent three great days together. One could tell the Americans and the Europeans at first glance — the hosts in their shirts and light summer dresses, and the guests wearing sweaters and windbreakers against the ferocious air-conditioning. The main conference room was huge. Not big enough, though. There was a blond elephant inside, and he didn’t go away. His name was Donald Trump.

这一次,我为一场旨在促进欧洲和北美开展对话的年度大会而来。共有来自30多个国家的百余名政治领导人以及工业、金融业、学界和媒体界的专业人士到会。我们一起度过了美好的三天。你一眼就能分清美国人与欧洲人——穿衬衫和轻盈夏裙的主人,与穿毛衣和风衣抵御猛烈的空调冷风的客人。主会议室很大。但还不够大。里边有一头金色大象,其身影令人挥之不去。他的名字叫唐纳德·特朗普。

Forty years is a long time. Coming often to the United States, I thought I’d experienced every national mood. I was wrong. I have never seen Americans so self-absorbed. It’s a strange time to be a European in America. Everyone was nice, and some trans-Atlantic topics were on the agenda. But the Americans’ minds were elsewhere — a few miles to the east, around the White House. They are still trying to come to terms with their new president — friends and foes, for different reasons. The debate on the future of the European Union, on the third day of our conference, created as much excitement as a math class on a Friday afternoon.

40年是一段很长的时间。常常到访美国的我本以为,自己已经体验过这个国家的每一种氛围。但我错了。我从未见过如此以自我为中心的美国人。一个在此刻身处美国的欧洲人赶上了一个古怪的时机。人人都很友好,议程中也有一些跨大西洋议题。但美国人的心思似乎在别的地方——往东几英里处的白宫周围。由于种种原因,他们似乎仍在设法慢慢习惯自己的新总统——不论是敌是友。大会第三天关于欧盟未来的讨论,就像某个周五下午的数学课一样激起了兴奋之情。

Whatever you think of Mr. Trump, he’s an exceptional man, hard to pin down. He’s using his November windfall to do whatever comes to his mind. He’s utterly unpredictable. His supporters enjoy this; his opponents don’t. But everyone is mesmerized. I had thought, perhaps naïvely, that by now the country would have settled down, or at least its most plugged-in citizens. Wrong — the people I met were every bit at sea as they were seven months ago.

不管你怎么看特朗普,他都是一个与众不同的人,很难被约束。他正利用去年11月的意外收获做他猛然想到的任何事情。他完全不可预测。他的支持者享受这一点;他的反对者则不然。但每个人都感到迷惑。我曾经或许有些天真地以为,这个国家,或者至少是大多数与时俱进的国人,眼下应该已经归于平静。错了——我遇到的人和七个月前一样茫然。

We met as President Trump announced he would quit the Paris accord on climate change, and days after he failed to express support for NATO’s Article 5, the commitment to consider an attack on one as an attack on all. Some voters in Arkansas may not care, but most of us at the conference did.

我们相遇之时,特朗普总统正宣布会让美国退出巴黎气候协定,那是在他未表态支持北约第五条的几天后——该条款规定,对一个缔约国的攻击会被视为对全体缔约国的攻击。阿肯色州的一些选民或许并不在意,但我们与会的大多数人都很在意。

I tried to relay what Mr. Trump’s rhetoric sounds like to a European. Americans may debate the appropriateness of the phrase “America First,” with its quasi-fascist echoes, but Europeans care less about word choice than about the intent behind it. If America is first, will Europe be in second or third place? Or even farther down the list?

我试图传递一个欧洲人对特朗普的说辞的观感。美国人或许会讨论“美国优先”这一让人联想起法西斯主义的字眼是否妥当,但欧洲人更关心的不是措辞,而是措辞背后的意图。如果美国优先,那欧洲是处于第二位或第三位吗?还是说排在后边?

A new American exceptionalism? More likely, a recurrent American delusion: to be self-sufficient. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.” Really? How do you think America and Europe — together — defeated Nazism ? How they developed and created wealth for their citizens? Helping each other or “competing for advantage in an arena”?

一种新的美国例外主义?更有可能的是,一种反复重现的美国式虚妄:要自给自足。特朗普的国家安全顾问、陆军中将H·R·麦克马斯特(H.R. McMaster)和国家经济委员会(National Economic Council)主席加里·科恩(Gary Cohn)在《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)上撰文称,“这个世界不是‘全球社区’,而是各国政府、非政府力量以及企业为了利益参与其中、相互竞逐的竞技场。”真的吗?你们如何看待美国和欧洲——携手——击败了纳粹主义?它们如何发展壮大、为本国公民创造财富?是相互帮助还是“为了利益而在一个竞技场上相互竞逐”?

Maybe this is just rhetoric, and maybe Europeans’ response is more emotional than rational. But when you’ve known someone for 40 years — it could be a partner, a friend or a friendly nation — feelings are important. When I think about those feelings, that trans-Atlantic ideal of unity, I think back to the months between Sept. 11 and the ill-fated invasion of Iraq. The NATO nations went into Afghanistan together, stood together against a challenge to our collective security and, more important, values.

或许这仅仅是一种修辞,或许欧洲人的反应更加感性而非理性。但如果你和某人——可以是一个合作伙伴,一个朋友,或者一个友邦——相识已有40载,情感是很重要的。当我思及这些情感,思及跨大西洋地区团结一致的精神时,我会回想起从9·11事件到注定没有好结果的入侵伊拉克之间的那些岁月。北约成员国曾一道进驻阿富汗,同仇敌忾地应对我们共同的安全——更重要的是我们共同的价值观——所遭遇的挑战。

That feeling faded, but I have always hoped it would return in the face of a challenge: When you share so much — history and democracy, freedom and the rule of law — and the world is messy, it’s important to stick together. Traveling in the United States today, I worry that feeling is gone. But then I remember — I’ve been coming here a long time, for a good reason.

那种情感已经褪色,但我一直希望它在挑战降临之际重现:鉴于我们有太多共通之处——历史和民主,自由和法治——而世界又如此混乱,精诚团结至关重要。现如今穿行于美国,我担心那种情感已经消失了。但我随即意识到——我来这儿待这么长时间,有着充分的理由。

The final evening I was talking with a few of my new American friends. “The United States of America, from time to time, forgets good old Europe and falls in love with new parts of the world,” I said. “It was Japan in the 1980s, Russia in the 1990s, China in 2000s. Go ahead, have your affairs! But don’t forget — you’re married to us.”

最后那个晚上,我和几个新认识的美国朋友聊天。“美国时不时地忘记欧洲这个老伙计,和世界上的一些新伙伴坠入爱河,”我说。“在1980年代是日本,在1990年代是俄罗斯,在2000年代是中国。去吧,尽管去风流快活!但别忘了——跟你们结婚的是我们。”

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