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更新时间:2018-4-18 20:43:36 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Barbara Bush, a First Lady Without Apologies

She knew who she was, and she saw no need to apologize for it. In the spring of 1990, the administration of Wellesley College — the alma mater, as it happened, of Hillary Rodham Clinton — invited Barbara Bush, then the first lady of the United States, to speak at commencement and receive an honorary degree. Students at the women’s college protested, declaring in a petition that Mrs. Bush had “gained recognition through the achievements of her husband,” and adding that Wellesley “teaches us that we will be rewarded on the basis of our own merit, not on that of a spouse.”

她知道自己是谁,她认为没必要为此道歉。1990年春天,韦尔斯利学院(Wellesley College)——碰巧是希拉里·罗德姆·克林顿(Hillary Rodham Clinton)的母校——的行政管理部门邀请时任美国第一夫人芭芭拉·布什(Barbara Bush)在毕业典礼上发表演讲,并接受荣誉学位。这所女子学院的学生发表抗议,在一份请愿书中称布什是“通过她丈夫的成就获得认可”,并接着说韦尔斯利“教导我们凭借自己而不是配偶的价值获得奖励”。

And so a generational battle was joined. As her husband, George H. W. Bush, put it in his private White House diary, Mrs. Bush was being attacked “because she hasn’t made it on her own — she’s where she is because she’s her husband’s wife.” Mr. Bush added: “What’s wrong with the fact that she’s a good mother, a good wife, great volunteer, great leader for literacy and other fine causes? Nothing, but to listen to these elitist kids there is.” To the young women of the last decade of the 20th century, Mrs. Bush, who had dropped out of Smith College to marry, seemed a throwback to a less enlightened time.

这其中还卷入了不同世代之间的争斗。她的丈夫乔治·H·W·布什(George H. W. Bush)在私人白宫日记中写道,布什夫人被攻击是“因为她不是靠自己成功的——她取得现在的成就是因为他是她丈夫。”乔治·布什接着写道:“她是一位好母亲、好妻子、优秀的志愿者、识字运动和其他高尚事业的优秀领导者,这个事实有问题吗?没问题,但听听这些自视甚高的孩子说了什么。”那些20世纪最后十年的年轻女性们觉得,从史密斯学院(Smith College)辍学的布什夫人似乎意味着倒退回一个不那么开明的时代。

Mrs. Bush, who died on Tuesday at age 92, never flinched, appearing at Wellesley and using her commencement address to explore the complexities of life’s choices. There was no single path, she told the graduates; one followed one’s heart and did the best one could. “Maybe we should adjust faster, maybe we should adjust slower,” she said. “But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children — they must come first. You must read to your children, hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”


The loudest applause came when she remarked that perhaps there was someone in the audience who would, like her, one day preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. “And I wish him well,” Mrs. Bush said.


It was classic Barbara Pierce Bush: politically skillful, balanced — and good for her husband, for she presented herself as at once reasonable and reasonably conservative, which was the essence of Mr. Bush’s own political persona.

这是典型的芭芭拉·皮尔斯·布什(Barbara Pierce Bush):擅长政治技巧、心平气和。这对她丈夫也很有利,因为她表现得既通情达理,又比较保守,这正是乔治·布什本人政治形象的本质。

Barbara Bush was the first lady of the Greatest Generation — a woman who came of age at midcentury, endured a world war, built a life in Texas, raised her family, lost a daughter to leukemia, and promoted first her husband’s rise in politics, and then that of her sons. As the wife of one president and the mother of another, she holds a distinction that belongs to only one other American in the history of the Republic, Abigail Adams.

芭芭拉·布什是属于最伟大的一代(Greatest Generation)的第一夫人。她在世纪中叶成年、经历过一场世界大战、在德克萨斯州打拼、养家糊口、一个女儿死于白血病、先后帮助丈夫和儿子们在政治上崛起。她是一位总统的妻子,也是另一位总统的母亲。在合众国历史上,和她共享此殊荣的只有阿比盖尔·亚当斯(Abigail Adams)。

It’s neither sentimental nor hyperbolic to note that Barbara Bush was the last first lady to preside over an even remotely bipartisan capital. She and her husband were masters of what Franklin D. Roosevelt once referred to as “the science of human relationships.”

芭芭拉·布什是最后一位在毫无两党之争的首都主持白宫的第一夫人——指出这一点既不伤感,也不夸张。她和丈夫是富兰克林·D·罗斯福(Franklin D. Roosevelt)所说的“人际关系学”的大师。

Part of the reason grew out of the generational and cultural disposition that had prompted the Wellesley protesters to speak out. Born in New York City in 1925, raised in Rye, N.Y., and long shaped by the WASP code of her mother-in-law, Dorothy Walker Bush, Mrs. Bush was reflexively hospitable. The elder Bushes governed in a spirit of congeniality and of civility, a far cry from the partisan ferocity of our own time. In her White House — and at Camp David and at Walker’s Point, the family’s compound on the coast of Maine — Democrats and Republicans were welcomed with equal frequency and equal grace.

一个原因是当时的世代和文化倾向——促使韦尔斯利的抗议者大声疾呼的也是这种倾向。布什夫人1925年出生于纽约市,在纽约州拉伊市长大,长期受到婆婆多萝西·沃克·布什(Dorothy Walker Bush)的盎格鲁-撒克逊裔白人新教徒行为规范的影响,本能地热情好客。老布什夫妇以亲切、谦恭的精神执政,与我们这个时代的激烈党派之争大相径庭。在她的白宫、戴维营(Camp David)以及布什家族在缅因州海岸的度假地沃克角,民主党人和共和党人受到了同等频率、同等体面的接待。

She had always known what she was getting into, for George H. W. Bush saw life as both a great adventure and as a long reunion mixer. After graduating from Yale in 1948, Mr. Bush drove himself to Odessa, Tex., sending for Barbara and George W., who had been born in 1946, once he’d rented half a duplex they were to share with a mother-daughter team of prostitutes. It was the first of 27 moves the Bushes would make on their American odyssey.


Writing her parents from Odessa to thank them for sending $25 to pay for nursery school for George W., Mrs. Bush reported that “G.W.B. has a wee bit of the Devil in him. This a.m. while I was writing a letter early he stuck a can opener into my leg. Very painful and it was all I could do to keep from giving him a jab or two.” They would lovingly tease each other for decades; George W. Bush often said he had inherited his father’s eyes and his mother’s mouth.


And her tongue could be sharp. In 1984, after she unwisely described Geraldine Ferraro, who campaigned against her husband as Walter Mondale’s vice-presidential running mate, as a word that rhymed with “rich,” she acknowledged that her family was now referring to her as the “poet laureate.”

她的话锋也可以很犀利。1984年,她轻率地用一个跟“rich”押韵的词形容她丈夫的竞选对手、沃尔特·蒙代尔(Walter Mondale)的副总统竞选伙伴杰拉尔丁·费拉罗(Geraldine Ferraro),她承认,家人后来因此称她为“桂冠诗人”。

She was tireless in her advocacy for literacy, at a time when AIDS was still shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding, Mrs. Bush visited a home for H.I.V.-infected infants in Washington, and hugged the children there, as well as an infected adult man. It sent a powerful message — one of compassion, of love, of acceptance. Her popularity as first lady was such that, in 1992, some voters sported buttons with a final plea for the World War II generation: “Re-Elect Barbara’s Husband.”