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白宫权力交接的特别传统:来自上一任总统的留言

距离美国白宫权力交接只剩下一天,在这个特殊时刻,让我们来回顾一项延续了32年的传统。从里根开始,每一位美国总统在卸任时都要给继任者留下一张手写便条,想知道这些便条都是什么内容吗?一起来看看。

 

白宫权力交接的特别传统:来自上一任总统的留言 The White House is seen from the Washington Monument as the country awaits the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Washington, US, January 18, 2021. Joe Raedle/Pool via REUTERS

 

Presidential traditions are usually known for their solemnity and carry the weight of future historical significance. This one began with cartoon turkeys and a reference to lunch.

在大众眼里,和总统有关的传统往往是庄严肃穆且对未来具有重大历史意义的。然而这个传统却是从火鸡漫画开始的,还提到了午饭。

 

As he was preparing to leave the White House in January 1989, President Ronald Reagan wanted to leave a note for his successor, George H.W. Bush, and reached for a pad emblazoned with a cartoon by humorist Sandra Boynton under the phrase, “Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down.” It featured a collection of turkeys scaling a prone elephant, the symbol of both men's Republican Party.

1989年1月,罗纳德·里根总统准备离开白宫时,他想给继任者乔治·布什总统写一个留言,于是就随手拿起了一本装饰了幽默画家和作家桑德拉·博因顿漫画的便笺簿,漫画上方写着:“别叫蠢人坏了你的心情”。漫画上,一群火鸡正在给一头俯卧的大象称重。大象是里根和布什所在的共和党的象征。

 

"Dear George, You’ll have moments when you’ll want to use this particular stationery. Well, go to it,” Reagan scrawled. He noted treasuring “the memories we share” and said he'd be praying for the new president before concluding, "I’ll miss our Thursday lunches. Ron.”

里根用潦草的字迹写道:“亲爱的乔治,有一天你会想用这本便笺簿。那就用吧。”他在便条中提到他很珍视“两人共同的回忆”,并表示他会为新总统祈祷,结尾他写道:“我会想念我们周四的午餐。罗恩。”

 

Thus was born the tradition of departing presidents leaving a handwritten note in the Oval Office for their successors. The missives' contents start off as confidential, but are often eventually made public by archivists, references in presidential memoirs or via social media after journalists and others filed requests to obtain them.

从此这项传统就诞生了,即将离任的总统都会在总统办公室为继任者留下了一张手写的便条。便条的内容一开始是保密的,但是最后往往被档案保管员、记者或其他想知道的人在总统回忆录或社交媒体等渠道公开。

 

The 32-year tradition is in peril this year. President Donald Trump has refused to accept the results of November’s election and vowed not to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. That makes it doubtful Trump will leave behind any handwritten, friendly advice for Biden.

这项延续了32年的传统在今年可能会被打破。特朗普总统拒绝接受11月大选的结果,并声称不参加本周三(1月20日)拜登的就职典礼。这让人怀疑特朗普是否会给拜登留下任何包含友好建议的手写便条。

 

白宫权力交接的特别传统:来自上一任总统的留言 US President Donald Trump’s chair sits empty behind the Resolute Desk while he participates in a medal ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

Presidents often write reflectively at the end of their time in office, including George Washington, who stated that he was “tired of public life” in recording why he wasn't seeking a third presidential term. But historians say Reagan's is likely the first instance of a personal letter being passed between presidents as they left and entered office.

在任期结束时,总统们通常会写一些反思的话,包括乔治·华盛顿在内。华盛顿曾写道,他“厌倦了公众人物的生活”,这就是为什么他不再参加第三次总统竞选。但是历史学家指出,里根的留言应该是第一封总统离职时写给下一任总统的私人信件。

 

The notes are striking in their simplicity given just how big the job of the presidency is. But they are also notable in their camaraderie and common purpose — especially since the handoff of power is often an unhappy one: Reagan to Bush was the last time the country had one president from the same party succeed another.

考虑到总统的工作如此繁重,这些留言都非常简单。但是留言中也流露出志同道合的情谊,这一点很难得,因为权力的交接往往是不愉快的。里根和布什的权力交接是美国最后一次由同党派人士接任总统。

camaraderie [ˌkɑːməˈrɑːdəri]: n. 友情

 

Despite losing to Bill Clinton in the bitter 1992 election, Bush followed Reagan's lead, this time on more stately, White House stationery. “I leave a note on the desk for Bill Clinton. It looks a little lonely sitting there," Bush recalled in his book "All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings.”

尽管布什在1992年的激烈大选中败给了克林顿,但布什还是效仿里根给克林顿留言,这一次用的是更庄严的白宫便笺簿。布什在他的书《老布什书信集》中回忆道:“我在桌上给比尔·克林顿留了一张便条。这张便条在那里待着,看起来有点孤单。”

 

"When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too,” Bush wrote in the note, adding, "I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some presidents have described."

布什在便条中写道:“刚才我走进这间办公室时,我感受到了和四年前一样的惊奇和敬意。我知道你也会有这种感觉。”布什还写道:“我希望你在这里过得非常快乐。我从来没有感受过一些总统描述的那种孤独感。”

 

He continued, "I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course,” before concluding, “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck — George.”

他写道:“我不是很善于提建议,不过我想说的是,不要被批评者打击得丧失勇气或偏离方向。”结尾他写道:“从现在起,你的成功就是美国的成功。我是你的铁杆支持者。祝你好运。乔治。”

 

Those words were so touching that the new president’s wife, Hillary, later recalled they made her cry.

这些话太感人了,当时新任总统的夫人希拉里后来回忆称,她被感动哭了。

 

白宫权力交接的特别传统:来自上一任总统的留言 The inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden is rehearsed in front of the White House in Washington, US January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

 

Writing to that president’s son, incoming President George W. Bush in 2000, Clinton noted that the “burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated” and that the “sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible.”

2000年克林顿在给布什总统的儿子小布什总统留言时,他写道“你现在肩负的担子是巨大的,但往往被夸大”,“做你认为正确的事所带来的纯粹的快乐是难以言表的”。

 

In his own letter to President Barack Obama eight years later, the younger Bush advised that "critics will rage. Your ‘friends’ will disappoint you,” but ”no matter what comes, you will be inspired by the character and compassion of the people you now lead.”

八年后,在小布什写给奥巴马总统的信中,他的建议是:“评论界会攻击你。你所谓的朋友会让你失望,”但是“不管发生了什么,你总会从你现在领导的人民的个性和同情心中得到启发。”

 

Bush’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were 27 at the time. They wrote a sort of kids' guide to the White House for Malia and Sasha Obama, then 10 and 7. It included such advice as “slide down the banister of the solarium" and "when your dad throws out the first pitch for the Yankees, go to the game.”

小布什的双胞胎女儿詹娜和芭芭拉那时候27岁。她们为当时分别是10岁和7岁的玛利亚和萨沙·奥巴马写了一个白宫儿童指南。其中包括诸如“从日光浴室的楼梯扶手滑下来”和“当你爸爸为洋基队开出第一球的时候,就和他一起去玩吧”这样的建议。

 

In his letter to Trump in 2017, Obama wrote, “This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful.”

2017年,奥巴马在致特朗普的信中写道:“这是一间独特的办公室,没有通往成功的清晰蓝图,所以我不知道我的建议能否给你什么特别的帮助。”

 

But Obama did offer some words that now appear prophetic given Trump's impeachment for inciting the deadly mob violence at the US Capitol. “We are just temporary occupants of this office," he wrote. "That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for.”

但是鉴于特朗普由于美国国会的致命暴乱而遭到弹劾,奥巴马写的一些话现在看来似乎具有预示性。他写道:“我们只是这件办公室的过客。这让我们成为守卫者,守卫我们的祖先为之流血斗争的那些民主制度和传统,比如法治、分权、平等保护和公民自由。”

 

"It’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them," Obama continued.

奥巴马写道:“在我们卸任时,至少要让这些民主制度和我们接任时一样强大。”

 

Mark K. Updegrove, a historian and CEO of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, said even if the note tradition stops with Trump, it could easily start again when Biden leaves office. He has already been vice president and spent 36 years in the Senate, where tradition and bipartisan congeniality are strong.

林登·贝恩斯·约翰逊基金会的首席执行官、历史学家马克·K·阿普德格罗夫说,即使便条传统在特朗普这里中止了,在拜登离任时也会很容易被重拾起来。拜登曾担任过副总统,在参议院待了36年,而参议院的传统意识和两党凝聚力是很强的。

 

"There’s no doubt in my mind that he would do it graciously," Updegrove said.

阿普德格罗夫说:“他会优雅地延续这一传统,这点我毫不怀疑。”

 

英文来源:美联社

翻译&编辑:丹妮

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