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美国总统是如何诞生的 – 译学馆
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美国总统是如何诞生的

Inventing the American presidency

白宫总统办公室
The Oval Office,
美国总统就职日
Inauguration Day,
白宫玫瑰园签约
Rose Garden signings,
还有秘密特工
and secret service agents,
戴着墨镜和炫酷的手腕对讲机
with dark sunglasses and cool wrist radios
等等 忘了那些
For a moment, forget all of it.
从你脑海里扔掉你所了解关于总统的一切
Toss out everything you know about the President.
现在 我们重新开始
Now, start over.
如果让你去发明总统一职 你会怎么做?
What would you do if you have to invite the president?
1787年的费城 面对这个问题的是
That was the question facing the 55 men who got together in secret
55个为了制定新的美国政府制度
to draw up the plans for a new American government
秘密聚集在一起的人们
in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia,
早在11年前 独立宣言就在此地被起草
in the same place where the Declaration of Independence had been written eleven years earlier.
宣布独立是有风险的
Declaring independence had been risky business,
这需要把生命与命运
demanding ferocious courage
置于危险中的过人勇气
that put lives and fortunes in jeopardy.
但是 建立一个新政府也不是好玩的
But, inventing a new government was no field day either,
特别是在夏天
especially when it’s summer
况且 你穿着刺痒的西装
and you’re in scratchy suits,
窗被紧紧关起
and the windows are closed
因为你不想任何人
because you don’t want anybody
听到你在说什么
to hear what you are saying,
而且没开空调
and the air conditioning doesn’t work
因为将近200年后空调才被发明出来。
because it won’t be invented for nearly 200 years.
当你们意见不统一的时候
And, when you don’t agree on things,
会变得更热
it gets even hotter.
对于制宪者来说 他们争论最大的地方是
For the framers, the question they argued over most
在写宪法
while writing the Constitution
和建立政府的三个分支的时候
and creating three branches of government
有关行政部门的问题
had to do with the executive department.
是一人掌权还是三权分立?
One man or three to do the job?
任期是多久?
How long should he serve?
真正的权力是什么?
What would he really do?
谁来选举他?
Who would pick him?
如何让他下台
How to get rid of him
一旦他做得不好或者他是个骗子?
if he’s doing a bad job or he’s a crook?
当然 他们都想的是“他”
And, of course, they all meant him,
并且“他”须是一个白人。
and he would be a white man.
让一个女人
The idea of a woman
或是一个非洲裔美国人(黑人的正确叫法)
or an African American, for instance,
享有如此高的地位
holding this high office
在他们眼中是不可思议的。
was not a glimmer in their eyes.
但制宪者知道他们需要
But the framers knew they needed
一个负责任的人
someone who could take charge,
尤其是在危机中 比如入侵 判乱
especially in a crisis, like an invasion or a rebellion,
或是条约谈判
or negotiating treaties.
国会要做出如此重要的决定 免不了辩论和延期
Congress was not very good at making such important decisions without debates and delays.
制宪者认为美国需要这样一个人
But the framers thought America needed a man
决事果断 而且雷厉风行
who was decisive and could act quickly.
他们称之为精神和速度
They called it energy and dispatch.
但有一件事他们打死也反对
One thing they were dead-set against:
那就是君主
there would be no king.
他们刚与一个国家的君主打了一场战争
They had fought a war against a country with a monarch
担心君主
and were afraid that one man
权利不受监督 且掌控着军队
with unchecked powers, in charge of an army,
会接管这个国家。
could take over the country.
因此他们用总统来替代君主
Instead, they settled on a president
并在第二条宪法中指明此人的权力
and laid out his powers in Article 2 of the Constitution.
但是谁来选择他呢?
But who would choose him?
不可以是公民 他们太容易被误导了!
Not the people, they were too liable to be misled
一位制宪者担心
as one framer worried.
也不可以是立法机构啊 那将导致阴谋和内讧
Not the legislature, that would lead to cabal and factions.
有了 选民 明智的有识之士
Got it: electors, wise, informed men
有时间去做出不错的决定
who have time to make a good decision.
如果他们没有选出一个获胜者
And if they didn’t produce a winner,
那就由政府其他机构之一的国会来做决定
then the decision would go to one of the other branches of government, the Congress.
众议院会参与 并做出选择
the House of Representatives would step in and make the choice,
就像他们在1801年和1825年所做的那样
which they did in 1801 and 1825.
在1787年的那个漫长又炎热的夏天
In the long, hot summer of 1787,
折中方案的制定发明了总统制度
compromises were made to invent the presidency,
比如奴隶人口按3/5的人口折算
like counting slaves as 3/5 of a person,
授予总统命令军队的权利
giving the President command of the army
但宣战权在国会手中
but Congress the power to declare war,
无条件的四年任期
and unlimited four-year terms.
从那时起 一些折中方案已经被修正
Since then, some of those compromises have been amended
执政党有时太强或太弱
and the men in office have sometimes been too strong or too weak.
但是 如果你能从零开始
But, if you could start from scratch,
你会怎么样设置总统制?
how would you redesign the Oval Office?

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