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奥巴马费城演讲:一个更完美的联邦

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Thank you very much.
我们[美利坚合众国的]人民,为缔造一个更完美的联邦。”

221年前,一群人聚集在至今仍屹立在这条街上的市政厅里,用上述这样简洁的言语,发起了美利坚不可思议的民主实验。农场主和学者,政治家与爱国者们为逃脱政治专制和宗教迫害,横渡大洋,最终在费城会议上发表了他们的独立宣言。——这一会议一直延续了1787年的春天。

他们讨论出的文件得以签署通过但尚未最终完成。它因这个国家的奴隶制原罪而劣迹斑斑,这一问题分裂着殖民地的定居者们,使得费城会议陷入僵局,最后建国者们决定同意奴隶贸易再继续开展至少二十年,而将这一问题留待子孙后代去解决。

当然,对奴隶制问题的解决在我们的宪法中已经生根发芽,法律之下平等的公民权理念是这部宪法的核心;它向人民许诺自由、公平和一个随着时间推移能够且应当被不断完善的联邦。

但写就在羊皮纸上的宣言尚不足以使奴隶摆脱奴役,或向不同肤色和信仰不同宗教的人们提供他们作为美国公民理应享有的充分的权利和义务。这就需要那些愿意履行其职责的后来者去缩小我们的理想承诺与人们所处时代的社会现实间的差距,——他们得经过街头抗议和法庭抗争,经过内战和和平违法,这其间总是险象环生。

继续前人长久以来的、为建立一个更公正、公平、自由、更负责任且更繁荣的美国的努力,这是我们在这场总统竞选一开始就定下的任务之一。我之所以决定在这一历史关头竞选总统,是因为我坚信我们只有联合起来,才能应对我们这个时代的挑战,才能为我们的子孙后代创设一个更好的明天——只有相互理解,懂得我们也许有不同的故事,但拥有共同的愿望;懂得也许我们肤色不同,来自不同地方,但我们想要同一个梦想,才能使我们的国家更完善。

这一信念来自于我对正派而慷慨的美国人民坚定不移的信心。同时它也源自我自己的美国故事。我是一个肯尼亚黑人和堪萨斯白种女人的儿子,在我的白人祖父母的照料下长大成人。祖父历经大萧条,二战期间服役于巴顿的部队;当祖父开赴海外战场时,祖母在莱文沃斯堡的轰炸机流水线上作业养家糊口。我在美国那些最好的学校里读过书,也在世界上最贫穷的国家里生活过。我娶的是一位黑人妇女,她的血管里流淌着奴隶和奴隶主的血液,——而这一血统又遗传给了我们的两个宝贝女儿。我的不同种族和肤色的兄弟姐妹、叔伯侄甥们生活在三个大洲,而且只要我还活着,便会永远铭记在这世上其他任何一个国家里我这样的经历都不会发生。

这样的经历不会将我塑造成最保守的候选人,但它使我骨子里因一种信念而警醒:这个国家高于它的各部分的加总,高于多数群体,我们本身就是一个整体。在这场竞选的第一年里,我们意识到美国人民有多渴望团结一致的讯息,而不是相反。尽管存在透过纯粹种族主义的有色眼镜来看待我的竞选的陷阱,我们在国家那些白种人占主导的一些州却赢得了显著的胜利。在联邦星条旗(confederate flags)仍高高飘扬的南卡,我们筑就了非裔美国人和美国白人间的强有力的联盟。

这并不意味着种族在竞选中不是一个问题。在竞选的许多层面上,一些评论家不是认为我“太黑”就是认为我“不够黑”。在南卡,初选前的几周里我们看到种族内在的张力问题渐渐浮现。媒体四处搜寻每一场投票结果以作为种族对立的最新证据,这一对立不仅是在白人与黑人之间,也在黑人与拉丁族裔之间。

然而,也就是在最近两周里,大选中关于种族的讨论发生了明显的分裂性的转变。

在这光谱的一端,我们听到这样的暗示,即我的参选在某种程度上是平权计划的一种实践,是那些眼界开阔的自由主义者寻求廉价的种族和解的意愿的结果。在光谱的另一端,我们听到了我以前的牧师,可敬的杰里梅尔.怀特的煽风点火的言论。他的言论不仅会加深种族分裂,也有损我们国家的伟大与善良;他的言论不仅冒犯了白人,也得罪了黑人。对于黑人和白人同样是冒犯。

我旗帜鲜明地谴责赖特神父的极具争议性的言论。对一些人而言,纠缠不清的问题仍然存在。我是否知道他对美国的内政外交政策的猛烈抨击?当然知道。当我坐在教堂里,我是否听到他的足以引发争议的言论?当然听过。我是否坚决反对他的许多政治观点?肯定反对。——就像你们中的许多人曾经从你们的牧师、神父或拉比那里听到你强烈反对的观点一样。

但那些最近引起轩然大波的言论不止于让人匪夷所思,它们不只是一位宗教领袖试图挺身而出反对他觉察到的不公正。相反,它们反映了一种对这个国家的极度扭曲的看法——它将白人的种族歧视主义视为天经地义,将美国的弊病夸张到掩盖我们所知道的一切关于美国的美好,它将中东的冲突完全解释为我们坚定的盟国以色列的行为所致,而非源自激进的伊斯兰原教旨主义固执而充斥着仇恨的意识形态。         这样看来,赖特神父的言论不仅错误而且极具分裂性,它在我们需要团结时分裂我们,在我们急需携手共进解决诸如两场战争、恐怖主义威胁、经济衰退、日渐恶化的医疗危机和潜在的灾难性的环境变化这一系列重大问题时制造种族纠葛;而这些问题不是黑人的、或白人的、或拉丁族裔或亚裔某个族群的问题,而是我们所有人都正面临的难题。                

若从我的出身、我的政治立场、我信奉的价值和理想来考虑,毫无疑问,对那些我的支持者来说,我的谴责还远远不够。他们或许会问,为什么一开始我就和怀特神父走到了一起?我为什么不加入另一个教堂?如果我承认我所知道的怀特神父不过是电视节目或You Tube上不断播放的冗长说教中的一则新闻,或者,假如基督教三一联合教堂与一些评论家四处散播的拙劣讽刺一样,毫无疑问我也会有这样的反应。

但事实恰恰是,那不是我所认识的那个人。二十多年前我遇到怀特神父时他引荐我加入基督教,他对我说人们有相互友爱和照顾病弱、扶助贫贱的责任。他作为一名美国海军陆战队成员为国家服役,他在国家最好的大学和神学院里作研究和上课,他三十多年如一日主持一个教堂,为社会做着高尚的工作——收留无家可归者,照顾穷困潦倒者,提供日托服务、奖学金和监狱服务,并向艾滋病患者伸出援手。

在我的第一本书《父亲的梦想》中,我描述了我在三一教堂第一年做义工的经历:

“一阵大风将神父的声音传递到教堂的每个角落,人们开始呼喊,从他们的座位上站起来、鼓着掌、喊叫着,…并且只有一个简单的讯息——希望!——我还听到了其他东西;在那个角落里,在这个城市成千上万的教堂里,我想象普通黑人融入大卫和巨人歌利亚(圣经中被牧羊人大卫杀死的Philistine腓力斯巨人)、摩西和法老、狮子洞穴里的基督徒、伊齐基尔原野的枯骨的故事。那些有关生存、自由和希望的故事,变成了我们自己的故事,我的故事;流淌的血液是我们的血液,眼泪是我们的眼泪;在这个阳光明媚的日子,这个黑人聚集的教堂,再一次作为桥梁将一个民族的故事汇入未来的世代和更大的世界。我们的苦难和成功立刻变得独特而又普遍,是黑人的而又超越这个族群;在记录我们的历程中,那些故事和歌谣提供给我们不断回忆过往而不必羞耻的方法,…有了那些所有民族都该学习和珍惜的记忆,我们就能开始复兴我们的民族。”

这便是我在三一教堂的经历。同那些全国有重要影响力的黑人聚集的教堂一样,三一教堂使黑人社区——医生和领取救济的母亲、模范生和黑社会成员,连接成一个整体。跟其他黑人教堂一样,三一教堂的布道仪式总是充满沙哑的笑声,有时还夹杂色情幽默。他们总是在跳舞、鼓掌、尖叫和大喊,似乎会吓到那些不曾见识过的人。它容纳了善意和残忍、绝顶聪明和盲目无知、尚在困境中挣扎的和已经功成名就的、爱和肯定、苦难和偏见这些美国黑人所经历的一切。

这或许有助于解释我和赖特神父的关联。尽管他可能不尽善尽美,但他如同我的亲人。他增强了我的信仰,见证了我的婚礼,并给我的孩子施洗礼。在我同他谈话时,我不止一次听到他用贬损的语言谈及那些种族团体,或是对那些与他交往的白人毕恭毕敬。他内心也满是对他长久以来孜孜不倦献身其中的共同体的或善意或恶意的矛盾。

我不能否认他,如同我不能否认黑人共同体。我不能否认他,如同而不能否认我的白人祖母。她养育了我,为了我一次次做出牺牲,爱我就像她爱这世界上其他的东西一样,但她也曾坦言害怕街上那些从她身边经过的黑人,还不止一次讲出让我畏惧的有关种族的陈词滥调。

这些人是我的一部分,他们是美国的一部分,而这就是我所热爱的国家。               

有人会认为这是我为那些不能被饶恕的言论作开脱的努力。我向你保证这不是开脱责任。如果图政治上的安全,我会忘却这一插曲继续向前走,并希望这些言论会自生自灭。我们也可以把怀特神父看做疯子或蛊惑人心的政客对他不屑一顾,就像有些人在杰拉尔婷.费拉罗因最近的言语包含深深的种族歧视而对她不屑一顾一样。

但种族是这个国家不容再忽视的问题。我们如果对此不屑一顾就会犯怀特神父同样的错误,那就是在他关于美利坚的布道中以简单化的、颇具成见的方式放大美国的负面,结果造成对现实的扭曲。

人们做出的这些评论和最近几周日渐显现的问题都反映了这个国家的种族问题的复杂性。我们不能完好地解决种族问题也意味着我们联邦的尚未完善。如果我们对之视而不见,仅仅撤退到自己的一隅安分守己,我们将不可能团结起来并解决类似医疗、教育或为每个美国人提供好工作的需求的难题。

要理解这一问题,我们需要知道我们是怎样走过来的。威廉.福克纳曾说过:“过往并非僵死而被掩埋掉。事实上,它从来不曾过去。”在此我们无需重提这个国家的种族不平等的历史。但我们确实需要铭记于心,那些至今仍存在于非裔族群的诸多的不平等,都能直接追溯到那些由我们的前辈传递下来的不平等,他们在奴隶制和黑奴时代的残酷制度下备受折磨。

种族隔离学校曾经是,现在仍是劣等学校;在布朗诉教育委员会案五十年之后,我们还没有改进它们;从那时起至今,它们提供的低劣教育有助于解释今天黑人和白人学生之间普遍深入的成就差距。

黑人被歧视是受法律保障的,而这种歧视有时甚至是考暴力维护的。黑人常常被禁止拥有财产,黑人企业往往得不到贷款的贷款,黑人业主不能获得联邦住房委员会的抵押贷,黑人常常被禁止参加工会或在警察署或消防署任职。这一切意味着黑人家庭不可能积攒大量财富留给他们的后代。这段历史有助于解释黑人和白人之间的财富和收入差距,至今还有众多居住在城市和乡村的黑人紧衣缩食,入不敷出。       

黑人经济机会的匮乏和因无力负担家庭责任而带来的羞愧和挫败感,都使黑人家庭的生活处在风雨飘摇中,——这一问题可能因多年来的福利政策而更加恶化。在众多城市黑人社区缺乏基本的服务设施,比如供孩子玩耍的公园、巡逻警、日常的垃圾车和小区保安等,都导致了长久困扰我们的暴力—衰落—漠视周而复始的发生。

这便是怀特神父和他那个时代的其他非裔美国人的成长环境。他们在20世纪50年代后期和60年代早期长大成人,那时种族隔离仍是这个国家的法律,生存机会被合法压缩。引人注目的不是他们中间有多少人因种族歧视落荒而逃,而是他们中间有很多男男女女能够跨越藩篱,绝处逢生,创造出奇迹。

然而对所有艰难地迈向他们自己的美国梦的人而言,很多人没有成功,他们因这样或那样的原因而被种族歧视彻底打垮。这一挫败的经历又传给了他们的下一代,这些年轻男孩和正日渐增多的年轻女孩终日混迹街头,或在铁窗里受尽煎熬,没有希望和前途。即使是那些黑人中的成功人士,种族和种族歧视的问题仍然以致命的方式持续限制着他们的世界观。就怀特神父同时代成长起来的黑人男女而言,羞辱、质疑和恐惧的记忆尚为时不远;那些岁月里他们的愤怒和痛苦也同样恍然如昨。他们的愤怒也许并未在公共场合、在白人同事或朋友面前显露。但它多在在理发店或餐桌上得到释放。这种愤怒也时常为政治家们所利用,蛊惑选民结成种族阵线,或用以弥补政治家自身的败绩。                

有时它也在星期天早上的教堂里、在布道坛和教堂坐席上得到释放。如此多的人听到怀特神父布道时感到镇静的事实提醒我们常常听到的一句老生常谈:美国人最为种族隔离的时候是每个星期天的早上。黑人的愤怒并不总具积极意义,它确实在大多数时候干扰了急需解决的问题,阻止我们面对我们自己其实也是目前的状况产生的原因之一的事实,阻碍了非裔美国人社区形成它所需的能带来真正的改变的联盟。但这愤怒是真实的且有巨大的能量,天真地幻想它会烟消云散,或者对其根源不加甄别就一味谴责,只能加深已有的种族间的误解鸿沟。

实际上,类似的愤怒情绪在一些白人社区同样存在。许多白人工薪阶层和中产阶级并不认为他们因其人种而受到特别的优惠。他们的阅历是移民的经历,就他们而言,不曾有人赋予他们什么,他们白手起家自己创造了一切。他们终生兢兢业业,很多时候却眼见属于他们的工作被转移到海外或他们一生辛劳所积攒的退休金被废弃。他们对于自身的未来惶恐不安,察觉到他们梦想正在消退;在薪水不涨和全球竞争的年代,机会似乎是零和游戏,你的梦想的实现以我受损为前提。因此当有人告诉他们他们的孩子必须乘坐小车去城镇的另一头上学,当他们听说非裔美国人因他们自己未曾参与制造的不公正待遇而取得好的工作机会或着去好的大学就读时;当有人告诉他们他们对城市犯罪的担忧在某种程度上是成见时,他们厌恶开始膨胀。

同黑人社区的愤怒情绪一样,这些憎恨并不总是以和善的方式表达出来。它们实际上构成了一代人的政治环境。对社会福利和防止种族与性别歧视的平权政策的愤怒促成了里根联盟。政治家们为了其自身的竞选目的熟练地利用人们对犯罪的担忧。很多脱口秀主持人和保守党评论家们的生涯就是靠揭露种族主义的虚假权利要求起飞的。与此同时,他们还将种族不公正和不平等这样正当合理的讨论视为只是政治正确或逆向种族歧视而置之不理。

正如同黑人的愤怒情绪常常产生不良后果,白人的憎恨情绪也同样使人们偏离使中产阶级陷入困境的罪魁祸首——内部交易充斥于整个企业文化中,可疑的会计操作方式,短期投机,国会游说者和特殊利益所主导的政府,服务于少数人而不是大多数人的经济政策。并且,一厢情愿地希望白人的厌恶烟消云散,不去理解他们的担忧也是正当的而是指责他们不是偏见太深就是种族主义者也同样会加宽种族的隔离,阻碍了人们相互理解。

这便是我们现在所处的方位。它是我们深陷其中许多年的种族僵局。与那些批评我的黑人和白人评论员的观点相反,我从不曾天真到相信单凭一次竞选巡回,或单靠哪一个候选人,特别是象我这样一个自身并不完美的候选人,就能摆脱我们的种族分裂问题。

但我持有一个坚定的信念,它植根于我对上帝和美国人民的信仰。我相信如果大家一起努力,我们能够去除我们久已存在的种族伤痛的一部分,并且如果我们想继续致力于建立一个更完美的联邦,除了团结起来我们别无选择。

对非裔美国人社区来说,这意味着欣然接受我们的过往的重担而不至于成为过往的牺牲品。它意味着在美国生活的方方面面继续坚持完全意义上的公正。但它也意味着把我们的强烈不满,把我们所要求的更好的医疗保障、更好的学校和更好的工作跟美国人的更大的抱负结合起来。这些美国人包括那个艰难追求职位升迁的白人妇女、那个失了业的白种男人、那个努力养家活口的移民。它同时它意味着我们要对自己的生活承担起完全的职责:向我们的父亲提出更多的要求,空出更多时间给孩子,给他们讲故事,当他们在生活中面临挑战和歧视时教会他们绝不能向绝望或讥讽屈服,让他们总是坚信他们能够掌控自己的命运。

极具讽刺意味的是,自立这一美国含义的精髓,并且也是保守的观念,常常在怀特神父的讲道中出现。然而我以前的牧师所不能理解的是发起自立运动也得持有社会能够进行变革的信念。

怀特神父布道的内在错误不在于他谈论我们社会中的种族主义,而在于他假设我们的社会停滞不前,好像从未有过进步,好像这个国家,这个让他自己的种族中的一个成员可以去竞选这个国家的最高职位,并建立起白人和黑人、拉丁裔和亚裔、富人和穷人、年轻人与老者的大联盟的国家,仍受其悲惨过往的束缚而不可改变。但我们知道并看到的是,美国可以变革。这便是这个民族真正的精神所在。我们已经取得的成果让我们满怀希望,为我们未来能够且必须达到的成就而无畏地去希望。

在白人社区,通向更好的联邦的路途意味着懂得折磨黑人社区的情绪不只存在于黑人的心中;种族歧视的历史和当前那些与过去相比不那么平凡的歧视事件,真实而且必须得到表达。不止是用言语,而且也要用行动来表达——通过向我们的学校和社区投资;加强我们的公民权利法案和确保刑事审判制度的公平;向这一代年轻人提供他们的先辈无法得到的机会。它要求所有的美国人都要意识到,你的梦想的实现并不以我的梦想为代价;意识到对黑人、拉丁裔族群和白人的孩子提供医疗、福利和教育最终会对美国的全面繁荣有所助益。

最后我们所倡导的,恰恰正是这世界上所有伟大的宗教都要求的——利人即为利己。圣经教导我们,做我们兄弟的保护人,做我们姐妹的保护人。寻求所有人的共同利益,并在我们的政治中体现这一精神。

在这个国家我们拥有选择。我们可以选择引发分裂、冲突和愤世嫉俗的政治。我们可以把种族问题当成情节剧,比如O.J. 辛普森的审判,也可以在悲剧之后痛定思痛,比如卡特里娜飓风风之后,也可以把它作为晚间新闻的素材。我们也可以选择每天在每个电视频道播放和讨论怀特神父的布道,一直选举结束,并回答这一竞选的唯一的一个问题,即美国人民是否认为在某种程度上看我相信或同情他的许多攻击性言辞。我们可以选择希拉里的一句玩笑并认定她是打种族牌,也可以选择猜测白人在大选中是否会无视约翰.麦凯恩的政策而团结在他的周围。

我们可以做出那样的选择。

但如果真做出那样的选择,我敢向你保证到下次选举时,我们将会探讨其他一些转移我们视线的难题。再下一次又会换一个。再下次再换。但什么变革也不会发生。                

这是一种选择。或者,我们也可以在这场选举中做出另外一种选择,我们可以团结起来并宣告“这次不做这样的选择”。这次我们想探讨一下正日渐崩溃的学校,它使黑人孩子、白人孩子、亚裔孩子、拉丁裔孩子和印第安人的孩子的未来黯淡。这次我们可以悬着拒绝那宣称这些孩子不可能学会文化知识、那些族裔的孩子是别人该关心的问题的讥讽言辞。美国的孩子不是哪个族裔的人的孩子,他们是我们的孩子,我们将不再容许他们在21世纪的经济社会中落后于他人。这次绝不再这样做。

这次我们也可以选择探讨一下急诊室里为什么有那么多没有医疗保险的白人、黑人和西班牙裔人,他们为什么没有能力战胜华盛顿的特殊利益集团,并告诉他们只要我们同仇敌该,我们就可以对付这些利益集团。

这次我们还可以选择讨论一下那些曾向不同种族的人们提供舒适的生活的倒闭了的工厂,和那些属于信奉不同宗教、居住于不同地区、从事各行各业的美国人的正在被出售的的房屋。这次我们悬着想探讨一下这样一个事实:真正的问题不在于其他种族的人可能抢去了你的工作,而是你所工作的公司仅仅为了商业利润把就业机会输送到到了国外。

这次我们选择探讨一下不同肤色和信仰的男男女女在爱国主义的旗帜下共赴国难、浴血奋战。我们想知道如何使他们从这场本不该批准通过并发动的战争中重返家园,我们又如何照顾他们和他们的家人,给予他们应得的救济来表达我们的爱国心。

如果我本人不相信这是大多数美国人对这个国家的期望我就不会去参加本次总统竞选。这个国家也许永远不会完善,但一代又一代美国人证明它可以不断自身改善。时至今日,每当我发现我对这种可能性心生疑虑或冷眼相看是,下一代人总给予我无穷的希望,年轻人对于变革的态度、信仰和开阔心胸已经在这场选举中刷新了历史。

今天我特别想给大家讲述一个故事。当我有幸在马丁.路德.金的家乡的教堂,亚特兰大的浸礼会爱波尼哲教堂举行的他的诞辰纪念日上讲话时我讲述过这个故事。

一个年仅23岁的年轻白人女子艾仕丽.巴雅在南卡的佛罗伦斯组织我们的竞选团队。她从竞选一开始就在一个几乎全是非裔黑人的社区工作。有一天,她参加了一个圆桌会议,在会上每人轮流讲述他们的阅历和他们参与助选的原因。

艾仕丽说她九岁那年,她的母亲得了癌症。因为母亲不得不请假看病,因此遭到解雇,丧失了医疗保险。她们不得不登记破产。从那时起,艾仕丽便下决心要做些事帮助她的母亲。

她知道食品是她们日常最大的开销,因此告诉母亲她最喜欢并想吃的是芥菜和可口的三明治。因为这是最省钱的吃法。

到她母亲病情好转时,她已经这样吃了一年。在圆桌会议上,她告诉每个人她加入我们的竞选团队的原因在于,她愿帮助这个国家那些也愿意并急需帮助他们父母的许许多多的孩子。

而今艾仕丽完全可以做出全然不同的选择。或许有人会跟她说她母亲面临的困难的根源在于那些享受社会福利却好吃懒做的黑人,或是那些非法涌入这个国家的南美移民。但她没有动摇。她寻求反对不公正的联盟。                

艾仕丽讲完了她的故事之后就问在场的每个人为什么他们拥护这支竞选团队。他们都有各自不同的故事和原因。许多人谈到一些具体问题。最后他们将目光集中在那个一直都默默坐着不曾开口的年长的黑人男子。他不谈医疗或经济,不说教育或战争,也没说他在那里因为是巴拉克.奥巴马在场。他只简单地对屋子里的每个人说:“我出现在这里是为了艾仕丽。”

“我在这里也是为了艾仕丽。”一位年轻的白人女子和一位年长的黑人男子在一个时间点上的相互认可当然远远不够,它尚不能使病者有所医、失业者重新找到工作,或让我们的孩子接受教育。

但这是我们的起点,是我们的联邦开始强大的起点。并且,自221年前一群爱国者在费城签署下那部文件时起,世世代代的美国人人都意识到这就是更完美的联邦开始出现的起点,谢谢!

文章来源:网络  作者:未知 浏览次数:4620 相关文章 ·奥巴马费城关于种族问题的演讲文稿