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经济学人:资深美国参议院议员罗伯特·伯德

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Obituary;Robert Byrd

讣告;罗伯特·伯德

Robert C. Byrd, doyen of the United States Senate, died on June 28th, aged 92

罗伯特·C·伯德,资深美国参议院议员,逝世于6月28日,享年92岁

WHENEVER Robert Byrd walked the corridors and chambers of the Senate, he went in a crowd of people. Some were his constituents, in camouflage caps and T-shirts, gape-mouthed among the gilt and marble, come to talk to him about the problems of Marsh Fork Elementary School or their uncle's black lung. But he also saw Henry Foote of Mississippi wielding his pistol, Sam Houston of Texas whittling wooden hearts for the ladies, and little John Randolph of Virginia strutting past with his hunting dogs; and Cicero in the shadows, and just behind him Cato the younger, whispering “I would not be beholden to a tyrant.”

无论什么时候罗伯特·伯德行走在参议院的走廊和房间里,总有一群人相伴而行。一些是他的选民,戴着迷彩帽,穿着T恤,瞠目于参议员的金碧辉煌,他们是来找他谈马什福克小学或者他们叔叔的黑肺之类的问题。但他也见过密西西比的亨利·富特挥舞手枪,萨姆·休斯顿为女士们制作木心,还见过矮小的约翰·伦道夫昂首阔步走过参议院;还有阴影中的西塞罗,和他身后的小卡图,喃喃:“我不沾暴君的光。”

The Roman Senate fascinated Mr Byrd almost as much as the American. When it declined, the Republic fell. And why had it declined? Because it had become passive, failed to raise its voice; and especially because it had handed meekly to Caesar and Sulla the power of the pursestrings. Mr Byrd therefore spent his career—the longest Senate service in American history, incorporating six years as majority whip, 12 years as majority or minority leader and 20 years as chairman or ranking minority member of the Appropriations Committee—learning, describing and expertly applying the rules that kept the Senate a force in government. He was constantly alert both to executive overreach and to weakness in his own beloved chamber, “the anchor of the Republic, the morning and evening star in the American constitutional constellation”.

伯德对罗马元老院的着迷不亚于美国参议院。随着元老院的衰退,罗马共和国也灭亡了。它为什么会衰退?因为它变得消极,不再高声疾呼;特别是因为对于凯撒与苏拉,它将财政拱手相让。因此,伯德终其一生——美国历史上任期最长的参议员,包括6年的多数党党鞭,12年多数党或少数党领袖以及20年拨款委员会主席或高级少数党成员——学习,描述,而且巧妙地应用这些规则,使得参议院仍旧是政府的一股力量。他时刻警惕滥用职权和自己受爱戴的内阁的弱点,“共和国之栋梁,美国宪法星座中的启明星和长庚星。”

Dignity was his byword: three-piece suits, velvet waistcoats and the rolling oratory of a man who had been a fine lay preacher before he left West Virginia. His courtesy was instinctive, his thank-you notes reliably there the next day. The point of all this, though, was to uphold the worth of the Senate. At meetings with the president he insisted on taking a staff person, because the president had one, and the branches were equal. He kept laptops out of the chamber, but voted for televised proceedings, so that the Senate would be visible to the people to whom it belonged. The constitution, as he reminded listeners, pulling it from his left breast pocket where he kept it over his heart, had made the American people sovereign and mentioned their Congress first. Now, like him, they had to revere and defend it.

高雅是他的座右铭:3件套装西服,天鹅绒马甲和圆熟的口才——他离开西弗吉尼亚前曾是一个优秀的非神职布道者。他的礼节毫不做作,他的感谢信从不迟到。然而,这一切的意义都在与维护参议院的形象。会见总统时,他坚持要带上一名工作人员,因为三权领导等级相同,而总统带了一个。他不允许在会议室里用笔记本电脑,但却支持电视直播议程,好让该看见的人看见参议院的样子。宪法让美国成为一个主权国家,它把国会放在第一位,他在提醒听众时,从左胸口袋里拿出了他一直保存在心上的宪法。现在,像伯德一样,他们也要尊重和维护它。

He grappled masterfully with 11 presidents, and liked them less as he got older. George Bush junior he detested, a reckless and arrogant man who, on Iraq, overrode the war-declaring powers of Congress while the Senate stood pitifully by. “In this terrible show of weakness”, Mr Byrd wrote, “the Senate left an indelible stain upon its own escutcheon.” Some Democrats pleased him little better. Though most of his 18,500 votes went with his party, he had an old southerner's conservative streak, besides a West Virginian's tenderness for coal-mining and steel-making; and party ran second to the Senate, in any case. Bill Clinton's bid to seize the pursestrings from Congress in the 1990s with the line-item budget veto was opposed by Mr Byrd in 14 separate one-hour speeches, learned by heart, to slow up debate. He had filibustered before, the old-fashioned way: in 1964 for a straight 14 hours 13 minutes, to try to kill the Civil Rights Act.

他巧妙地与11任总统周旋,并且随着年长,越来越不喜欢他们。他憎恶小布什,在伊拉克问题上,布什越过了国会的宣战权,而参议院还在可怜地等待。“在这次严重的示弱行为后,”伯德写道,“参议院在自己的盾上留下了不可磨灭的污点。”有些民主党人也讨不得他的欢喜。虽然他的18500票中,党内人士居多,但他有着老南方的保守性格,和西弗吉尼亚人对炼钢和煤矿的温柔;而且在任何情况下,参议院优先于党。九十年代,比尔·克林顿曾企图通过项目预算否决权,从国会那里接管财政,被伯德反对,并以分别的14个一小时演讲,全部脱稿,拖延了议程。他以前也曾以老式的方式阻挠议事:1964年,一次长达14小时13分钟的演讲,试图遏止人权法案。

This he later regretted. He was sorry, too, that he found himself slipping into talk of “white niggers” and “race mongrels”, and that he was exposed as an active member of the Ku Klux Klan, charging 150 friends and colleagues $10 membership and $3 robe-and-hood hire to form a chapter in 1943 in Crab Orchard, West Virginia. He had briefly joined the Klan for its anticommunism, he explained, and for the platform it gave him, a mere butcher and fiddle-player, to organise people locally. This, with his spirited playing of “Rye Whiskey” and “Turkey in the Straw”, soon got him elected to the state House of Delegates in 1946, the US House of Representatives in 1952 and, by 1958, at 40, the Senate, which through almost nine terms he never left.

之后他也对此感到后悔。他也对自己不知不觉开始大谈“白黑鬼”和“黑白杂种”,还有他被揭穿是3K党的活跃成员,1943年在西弗吉尼亚州的螃蟹果园。曾向150个朋友和同事收取10美元的会费以及会员必备的绳子和兜帽的3美元租金,表示抱歉。他解释说,他曾经短暂的加入3K党,因为他们的反共和他们提供给他召集本地群众的平台,即屠夫和小提琴手。随着他动人的曲目《黑麦威士忌》和《草丛中的火鸡》,这个平台很快让他在1946年被选入州参议院,1952年被选入美国众议员,而且到了1958年,他40岁的时候,到达了参议院,并且几乎任满9期从未离开。

Yet his heart was in West Virginia, a poor and backward state of mountains and coal mines, where foster-parents had brought him up without power or running water and he had finished college, in a decade of night classes, five years after he joined the Senate. His years on Appropriations were spent not just juggling favours and nitpicking on procedure, but also proudly channelling money to the hills and hollows: making gravel tracks into Robert C. Byrd Freeways, turning fetid lock-ups into Robert C. Byrd Correctional Institutions, setting up the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope to look at the stars. This, too, was what the Senate was for.

然而他的心仍在西弗吉尼亚,一个多山,多煤矿的,贫穷落后的州,在那里,他的养父母在没有电和自来水的情况下把他养大,而在他进入参议院5年后,他为期10年的夜校课程,才算读完了。他在拨款委员会的几年,不只是尽力帮人的忙和挑剔手续,他还把资金送到了丘陵和洼地:让石子路变成了罗伯特·C·伯德高速公路,把恶臭的拘留所变成了罗伯特·C·伯德惩教所,设立罗伯特·C·伯德绿堤望远镜用来观星。这些,也都是参议员存在的意义。

On the mountain top

在山巅上

In one of his weekly online columns he mused on the beauty of mountains, where God had revealed himself to Moses and Elijah had challenged the false prophets of Baal. A blogger or two pointed out that the lopped-off, naked mountains in the south of his state owed much to Mr Byrd's votes for uninhibited mining. He was unrepentant. Mining brought jobs, and burning coal kept America going. The people powered America; the Senate was the people's house; and the man who preserved the Senate, in all its glory and prodigality and arcane complexity, was Robert C. Byrd, King of Pork and senator senatorum.

有一次,在他的每周线上论坛上,他赞叹山的壮丽,上帝就是在山上向摩西展示真身,而以利亚也是在山上挑战巴力神的假先知的。几位博客作家指出,他们南方家乡的斑驳光秃的山都归咎于伯德对无限制采矿的支持。他却并不后悔。采矿带来工作,而燃煤保障美国的前进。人民赋予美国力量;参议院是人民的议院;而保护参议院所有的荣光,奢侈和深不可测的那个人,正是猪肉王,参议员中的参议员,罗伯特·C·伯德。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
debate [di'beit]

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n. 辩论,讨论
vt. 争论,思考

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glory ['glɔ:ri]

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n. 光荣,荣誉,壮丽,赞颂
vi. 为 ..

 
decade ['dekeid]

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n. 十年

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gravel ['grævəl]

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n. 碎石 v. 铺碎石,使困惑

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majority [mə'dʒɔriti]

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n. 多数,大多数,多数党,多数派
n.

 
dignity ['digniti]

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n. 尊严,高贵,端庄

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indelible [in'delibl]

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adj. 不能擦除的,不能磨灭的,难忘的

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streak [stri:k]

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n. 条理,斑纹,倾向,少许,痕迹
v. 加条

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preserved [pri'zə:vd]

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adj. 保藏的;腌制的;[美俚]喝醉的

 
constantly ['kɔnstəntli]

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adv. 不断地,经常地

 


关键字: 经济学人 参议员

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