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    美式民主的局限与弊病(2)(中英对照)

    来源:可可英语 编辑:Villa ?  可可英语APP下载 |  可可官方微信:ikekenet

    III. Real drawbacks of American democracy

    三、美式民主的现实弊病

    (I) The polarization of American democracy

    (一)美式民主的极化

    Since the 1970s, obvious polarization has been taking place in American politics. Political polarization means that: First, external differences become increasingly pronounced. The policy preferences of different political forces pull in opposite directions. Second, the internal homogeneity gradually intensifies. Different political forces defend the values they pursue, and it isn’t easy to show reconciliation with one another. For nearly half a century, economic globalization has caused the constant transfer of American manufacturing overseas, and wealth is concentrated among a few people due to the rapidly growing virtual economy. The gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is widening, and the contradiction between the lower classes and the upper-class elites has become increasingly entrenched. Multiculturalism is upheld in the U.S., where racial conflicts are intensifying. These differences are manifested in the deepening opposition between political elites. Specifically, in recent years, the Democratic Party has tended to be more liberal, while the Republican Party has become increasingly conservative. The middle ground between the two parties gradually vanishes. Internally, the two parties have become more united and homogenized. As the two parties gradually pull in opposite directions in terms of concepts and perception, American society is losing its cohesive force.

    20世纪70年代以来,美国政治生活出现了明显的极化现象。政治极化,意味着:第一,外部差异性日益凸显。不同政治力量的政策偏好朝着对立方向发展;第二,内部同质性渐趋强化。各个政治力量越发捍卫自身追求的价值观,同其他政治力量难以调和。近半个世纪以来,经济全球化导致美国制造业不断向海外转移,而虚拟经济的迅猛发展使得财富逐渐集中到少数人手中,美国社会贫富差距不断拉大,底层民众同上层精英的矛盾越发难以调和;美国长期奉行多元文化主义,国内种族矛盾尖锐。这些差异投影到日常生活,即表现为政治精英集团之间渐趋对立。具体而言:近年来,民主党趋于自由主义,共和党则变得越发保守,两党之间原有的中间地带逐渐消失;两党内部愈加团结,日渐同质化。由于两党的观念认知渐趋分裂,美国社会的凝聚力正在不断丧失。

    Due to factors such as ruling pressure, conflict of values, and internal party pressure, it is often the case that American Democratic and Republican members of Congress cannot enter into rational discussions with other parties, but instead put the interests of the party above those of the people. Members of Congress of the two parties counteract each other’s efforts now and again. The U.S. Congress, which was regarded as a forum for discussing public opinions, has degenerated into an arena where the two parties fight against each other. The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, as a representative of the left-wing Democrats, promoted the process of impeachment against Donald Trump twice. In fact, many people find the impeachment of Trump ridiculous party politics, however high-sounding the Democrats’ grounds seem.

    在执政压力、价值观对立和政党内部压力等因素影响下,美国民主党和共和党议员很多时候并不能同他党理性商谈,而是将党派利益置于民众利益之上。两党派议员相互拆台的情况时有发生。原本被视为公意论坛的美国国会,已经沦为两党“恶斗”的竞技场地。众议院议长佩洛希作为左翼民主党人的代表,先后两次推动针对特朗普的弹劾程序。实际上,无论民主党人的理由多么冠冕堂皇,弹劾特朗普在许多人看来就是一场滑稽的党派政治斗争。

    Political polarization has aggravated the conflict and antagonism between different powers, causing disputes between Congress and the White House and between the ruling party and the opposition. As a result, it undermines the running of the American political system. To reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on re-election, Trump tried to downplay the threat of the pandemic to people’s lives and forcibly promoted the resumption of work and production. However, while criticizing the Trump administration for its ineffective fight against the pandemic, most Democrats encouraged to force people in some states to wear masks. This game of tit for tat politicizes the simple anti-epidemic measure of mask-wearing. State governments ran by different parties tend to adopt an anti-pandemic policy with “distinct characteristics” based on their own party stand. Given the lack of full coordination at the federal level, the state governments are often at odds with one another in terms of anti-pandemic policies, making it hard to check the rapid spread of the pandemic. Due to the political polarization coupled with the system of checks and balances, “scattered U.S.” lacks the capacity to effectively deal with the pandemic. This undermines the basic rights of ordinary people and also worsens the already hard-pressed global efforts to fight the pandemic.

    政治极化加剧了不同权力的摩擦、对立,造成国会和白宫、执政党与在野党的合作不畅、冲突不断,进而影响着美国政治系统的运转效能。为了弱化疫情对其谋求连任产生的冲击,特朗普试图淡化病毒对民众生活的威胁,强力推动复工复产。而多数民主党人在抨击特朗普政府抗疫不力的同时,鼓励在部分州强制要求民众佩戴口罩。两种主张针锋相对,令戴口罩这一简单的防疫举措政治化。被不同党派执政的州政府倾向于从本党主张出发,采取“特征鲜明”的抗疫政策。鉴于联邦层面缺乏强有力的统筹安排,不同州政府的抗疫政策时常打架,难以有效遏制疫情的快速传播。当政治极化的现实叠加在权力制衡体制之上,“散装美国”缺乏高效应对疫情的能力,这不仅严重威胁普通民众的基本权利,而且令本就严峻的国际抗疫形势雪上加霜。

    The antagonism between the two parties and political polarization give rise to the “pendulum democracy” and the “pancake tossing” for domestic and foreign policies in the U.S. After being installed as president, Trump revoked and even abolished many policies and acts adopted by the Obama administration. He announced withdrawal from international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and many international conventions such as the Paris Agreement. On the economic front, Trump operated U.S.-centered unilateralism, acted against the prevailing trend of economic globalization, and launched trade wars with trading partners such as China. In contrast, after taking office, Biden declared that the U.S. would pursue multilateralism, rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council, and suspend withdrawal from the World Health Organization, in an effort to repair diplomatic relations with Western allies. The “pendulum democracy” indicates that the U.S. makes capricious domestic and foreign policies, and the national finances are being depleted at the great expense of ordinary people. Under the “pendulum democracy,” the domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. are “turned over like a pancake.” The ruling party always settles scores over its predecessor’s political legacy or vetoes the policies made by its political opponents. As a result, the U.S. lacks a clear and consistent policy orientation, and the people, therefore, cannot make stable and long-term expectations of action, and many countries and international organizations are full of misgivings when dealing with the U.S.

    两党对峙、政治极化造成美国“钟摆民主”现象和内外政策的“翻烧饼”。特朗普就任总统以后,接连撤回、甚至废除了奥巴马政府的多项政策和法案。他高调宣布退出联合国人权理事会等国际组织以及《巴黎协定》等多项国际公约。在经济上,特朗普高举美国至上的单边主义大旗,逆经济全球化的历史潮流而动,同中国等贸易伙伴大打贸易战。与之相对,拜登执政以后,就立即宣称美国将重返多边主义,重新加入联合国人权理事会、中止退出世界卫生组织,以期修复同西方盟友的外交关系。“钟摆民主”昭示美国国内外政策反复无常,国家财政持续损耗,普通民众将为此付出高昂代价。在“钟摆民主”下,美国内政外交政策被来回“翻烧饼”。执政党总是不断清算前任的政治遗产或者否决政治对手的政策主张,这令美国缺乏清晰一致的施策方向,国内民众因此无法形成稳定且长远的行动预期,许多国家、国际组织也在同美国打交道的时候疑虑重重。

    Based on the party interests, the two parties in the U.S. veto each other’s policies, and as a result, American democracy falls into the trap of a “veto-type system.” Someone pointed out that the political polarization in the U.S. means the emergence of “two Americas” with the Democratic and Republican parties serving as the dividing line and the red and blue states as the geographic boundaries.

    美国两党从政党利益出发,相互否决对方提出的政策主张,导致美式民主已经落入“否决型体制”的陷阱。有人干脆指出,美国政治的极化意味着以民主党和共和党为身份分野、以红州和蓝州为地理疆界的“两个美国”的出现。

    (II) Double standards of American democracy

    (二)美式民主的双标化

    The U.S. flaunts the values such as human rights, freedom, and democracy and creates an image of a democracy defender, but the image of the U.S. as a defender of democracy is hypocritical in the extreme. If the so-called democratic movement compromises the interests of the U.S., the U.S. will act in opposition to democracy without hesitation. The double standards under American democracy are clearly manifested in its treatment of street politics and the freedom of the press.

    虽然美国极力标榜人权、自由、民主等价值,营造民主维护者的形象,但是,美国维护民主的卫士形象是极其虚伪的。一旦所谓的民主运动威胁到美国的利益,美国则毫不犹豫地走向民主的对立面。美国民主的双标化,在对待街头政治和媒体自由方面表现得非常明显。

    First, the U.S. operates double standards for street politics. For a long time, the advocates of American democracy have always assumed that American voters will exercise rational judgment when casting a vote and that the elected will comply with the election rules and accept the outcomes of the elections. However, those who uphold American democracy were dumbfounded by the farce that occurred in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. It turned out that their rational hypothesis about “orderly election” was turned upside down by reality. Refusing to concede defeat in the election, Trump claimed that the Democrats cheated in counting votes and exploited social media to incite people to launch street campaigns. Trump followers stormed the Congress with an utterly wretched mood, interrupting the Congress’ meeting to certify the election results. American democracy, which has seemed to be gentle and rational, emerged as violent street politics. Is the U.S. that supports street politics part of modern democracy? I am afraid it is difficult to give a definite answer.

    首先,美国对待街头政治的双标化。长期以来,美式民主的号手们总是假定美国选民会基于理性判断而投出神圣一票,当选者能够遵守选举规则,坦然接受选举结果。然而,2020年美国大选发生的种种闹剧却让这些推崇美式民主的人无言以对。原来他们关于“有序竞选”的理性假设被现实无情地戳破。特朗普拒绝承认败选,他不仅宣称民主党计票作弊,而且通过社交媒体煽动民众发起街头运动。“川粉”带着“如丧考妣”的心情冲击国会,一度令国会确认选举结果的会议中断。长期以温和、理性面目示人的美式民主,出现了暴力化的街头政治现象。那么,美国赞成街头政治属于现代民主的一部分吗?恐怕很难有确定答案。

    From the Jasmine Revolution that broke out in Tunisia, the “Arab Spring” that swept the Middle East, to even the political crisis in Ukraine, it can be seen that American politicians are “highly concerned” about the democratization of later modern countries. In China’s Hong Kong, aided by external forces, separatists launched a slew of riots, including storming the Legislative Council, attacking the police and innocent people, and besieging the building of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). They blatantly challenged the bottom line of “one country, two systems” ... Some American politicians danced for joy for this and even called it “a beautiful sight to behold.” U.S. Congress specially introduced a bill to endorse the actions of the rioters in defiance of the dissatisfaction of the Chinese people and the strong representations lodged by the Chinese diplomatic authorities. The U.S. Congress even flagrantly invited the heads of disorderly elements in Hong Kong to the hearings on Hong Kong-related issues in an effort to defend the radical and barbarian street politics in Hong Kong. The words and deeds of American politicians regarding street politics overseas seem to indicate that the U.S. encourages street politics and is inclined to regard street politics as what democratic theory and practice entail.

    无论是突尼斯爆发的“茉莉花革命”,还是席卷中东地区的“阿拉伯之春”,乃至乌克兰的政治危机,我们都可以看到,美国政客为后发现代化国家的民主化“操碎了心”。而在中国香港地区,港独分子在境外势力的推波助澜之下,发动了包括冲击立法会、袭击警察和无辜民众、围堵香港中联办等一系列暴动,公然挑战“一国两制”的法治底线……诸此种种,部分美国政客为之欢欣鼓舞,甚至称为“美丽的风景线”。美国国会漠视中国民众的不满,罔顾中国外交部门的强烈抗议,专门出台法案为暴徒们的行径背书;美国国会甚至公然邀请乱港分子头目参与涉港问题的听证会,企图为香港街头政治的极端化、野蛮化辩护。美国政客对待境外街头政治的言行,似乎表明美国鼓励街头政治,倾向于将街头政治视作民主理论与实践的应有部分。

    However, ironically, the U.S. has forcefully put down the street politics movements that took place in the U.S. in recent years. Due to the impact of the financial crisis, the unprivileged American populace launched a strong outcry against social injustice and uneven distribution of wealth and initiated the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. In response, American politicians vilified the protesters as rabble, and the American police suppressed them by employing methods such as violent dispersal. George Floyd, an American black man, was violently killed by white police officers for using forged bills worth twenty dollars. The American people took the streets to condemn the social ills of racism. In response, American politicians “righteously” denounced it as a “riot.” When some members of the populace dissatisfied with Trump’s defeat occupied the Capitol, politicians such as Pelosi labeled it as a “violent campaign” and “rebellion” without hesitation.

    但是,具有讽刺意味的是,美国却强力镇压近年来国内发生的街头运动。由于金融危机的冲击,美国底层民众强烈抗议社会不公、财富分配不均,发起“占领华尔街”运动。对此,美国政客们却污蔑抗议民众为乌合之众,美国警察更是采取暴力清场等方式镇压。美国黑人弗洛伊德因使用二十美元的假钞而被白人警察暴力执法致死。美国民众走向街头,声讨种族主义的社会痼疾。对此,美国政客们却“义正词严”地斥之为“暴乱”。当部分民众不满特朗普的败选而占领国会大厦时,佩洛西等政客毫不犹豫地将之定性为“暴力运动”“叛乱”。

    In terms of street politics, the U.S. operates double standards: On the one hand, the U.S. connives with and exploits the opposition in other countries to launch campaigns of street politics and even violent protests. On the other hand, it forcibly suppresses the protests of its citizens at every turn. That the U.S. adopts diametrically opposite attitudes towards street politics at home and abroad abundantly illustrates the double standards of American democracy.

    在对待街头政治时,美国怀揣双重标准:一方面,美国纵容、利用他国反对派发动街头运动乃至暴力抗议活动;另一方面,动辄对本国民众的抗议行动予以强力镇压。美国对境内境外街头政治持截然相反态度,充分显示美式民主的双标化。

    Second, the manipulation of the freedom of the press in the U.S. also exposes the double standards of American democracy. The media should report social events objectively and neutrally to promote politics in a healthy manner. However, under the guise of press freedom, the American media operates double standards to block information that is unfavorable to the U.S. selectively and deliberately mislead public opinion. Although the advocates of American democracy strive to stress the value of press freedom and parade the neutrality and objectivity of the American media, the American media adopts totally different approaches based on their preferences when covering issues of the same nature. For example, American media would give coverage for many days in a row in the case of the disappearance of white people while hardly giving due attention to the disappearance of the people of minority groups. When riots broke out in Hong Kong in 2019, the American media deliberately turned the camera to the police while turning a blind eye to the egregious acts of Hong Kong rioters of attacking the police and citizens in an attempt to deliberately create a negative image of the Hong Kong police “violently suppressing the democratic movement.” When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, the U.S. media deliberately labeled it the “Chinese virus” and provoked a deluge of hateful words and deeds against Chinese Americans. Disregarding the U.S. poor performance in anti-pandemic efforts, Bloomberg released the so-called “COVID Resilience Ranking”, in which the U.S. ranked top in the world in the anti-pandemic measures. Such double standards on press freedom run counter to the basic common sense and code of conduct for a modern democratic society. This shows that the American media, which is driven by political manipulation and interests, is far from being as neutral and objective as it proclaims.

    其次,美国操弄新闻自由也显示美式民主的双标化。媒体理应客观中立报道社会事件,促进政治生活朝着健康方向发展。然而,美国媒体却在新闻自由的幌子之下,采取双重标准,选择性地屏蔽某些对美国不利的信息,刻意引导社会舆论。虽然美式民主的号手们竭力强调新闻自由的价值,标榜美国媒体的中立性、客观性,但当面对同一性质的事件时,美国媒体却根据偏好采取截然不同的做法。例如,面对白人群体的失踪事件,美国媒体连续多天大肆宣传,而当少数族裔失踪事件发生时,美国媒体却缺乏应有的关注。在2019年香港地区发生暴乱时,美国媒体故意把镜头对准警察,而选择性忽视乱港分子暴力攻击警察和市民的恶劣行径,刻意营造香港警察“暴力镇压民主运动”的负面形象。2020年新冠肺炎疫情期间,美国媒体刻意渲染“中国病毒”,刺激并引发了大量针对华裔的仇恨言行;彭博社罔顾美国抗疫不力的事实,发布所谓的“全球抗疫排名”,标榜美国抗疫世界第一。如此双重标准的新闻自由,完全背离了现代民主社会的基本常识和行为准则。由此可见,受到政治操弄、利益裹挟的美国媒体绝非自我标榜的那般中立和客观。

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