2017年 06月 28日
星期三
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奧巴馬告別演說全文 「別怕變化,未來在你們手中」
發佈日期 : 2017-01-11 17:49:35


奧巴馬是美國第44任總統,隨着特朗普的當選,奧巴馬的任期也即將結束,他周二(10日)在芝加哥邁考密展覽中心發表告別演說。


離別之際,奧巴馬對人民、民主制度、社會問題以及國家未來的發展與走向都提出了希冀。


奧巴馬告別演說全文:


你好,芝加哥!回家的感覺真好!謝謝,謝謝大家!


在過去幾個星期裡,我和Michelle收到了各種美好的祝愿,我們非常感動,感謝大家對我的支持。今晚我仍然要向你們表達我的感謝,是你們,身處各地,各個場所的每一位美國人讓我保持真誠,是你們給了我靈感,並一直激勵著我前進。我每天都在向你們學習,是你們讓我成為一個更好的總統,成為一個更優秀的人。


我第一次來到芝加哥還是20歲出頭的時候,當時我還處在找尋自我的階段,還在為自己的生活尋找方向。就在離這不遠的一個社區,我開始參與教會團體工作。在這些街區,我看到了信仰的力量,看到了勞動人民面對困境和失意時那種安靜的尊嚴。就是在這裡,我了解到只有普通民眾都參與進來,變革才會發生,只有我們的力量聯合起來,社會才會進步。


現在八年時間過去了,我仍然堅信這一點。我相信,這不只是我自己的一個信念,也是我們整個美國思想的核心所在——對自治進行大膽地嘗試。


我們的信念一直是,生來平等,造物者賦予我們一些不可剝奪的權利,其中包括生命、自由以及對幸福的追求。這些權利,雖然人人都有,但並不能自動實現。我們,每一個公民,必須通過民主的工具,來創建一個更加完美的國家。


這是造物者賜予我們的禮物,我們擁有用汗水、辛勞和想像力去追逐我們的個人夢想和自由,同時也承擔有團結一致,實現更高目標的義務。我們的國家並不是一開始就是完美的,但是我們已經展示出了改變的能力,並為每一位追隨者提供更好的生活。


是的,我們的進步並不均衡,民主工作也一直很艱難,同時存在一定的爭議,並且有時是血腥的。每向前邁兩步,給人的感覺往往是還要往後退一步。但是美國在漫長的發展過程中,我們一直銳意進取,不斷拓寬我們的信條,去擁抱所有,而不僅僅是其中一部分。


如果八年前,我告訴你們,美國將扭轉大衰退,重振汽車行業,並創造出歷史以來最多的就業機會;如果當時我告訴你們,我們將與古巴人民開啟一個新的篇章,停止伊朗核武器計劃並揪出9/11事件的幕後主使;如果當時我告訴你們,我們將實現婚姻平等,為另外2000萬的同胞贏得健康保險的權利;如果當時我告訴你們這些,你們可能會說我的目標定得有點高。但是現在這就是我們所做到的,這就是你們所做到的。是你們促成了這些變化,你們讓希望成真,也正是因為你們,現在的美國比我上任時變得更好、更強。


10天之內,世界將會見證我們民主的一個標誌:通過自由選舉,將總統的權利和平地移交給下一位總統。我向當選總統特朗普承諾,我會為他提供最平穩的過渡,就像布什總統之前為我做的一樣。因為我們所有人都需要確保政府可以幫助我們應對目前面臨的諸多挑戰。


我們需要去應對這些挑戰,因為我們仍然是地球上最富有、最強大也最受尊重的國家,我們的青年和發展動力,我們的多樣性和開放程度,我們應對風險和進行革新的能力,都在向我們表明未來應該是屬於我們的。


但是,只有我們保持民主這些潛力才會發揮出來。只有當我們的政治反映出人民的正直,只有我們所有人,不論黨派關係或特殊利益,都有助於推動我們實現共同目的的渴望時,這些潛力才會發揮出來。


民主不需要同一性,我們的領袖會爭吵,會妥協,但他們知道民主需要一種基本的團結意識,雖然我們存在各種差異,但我們仍要團結一致,共同進退。


歷史上總會有一些時刻會威脅到這種團結,本世紀便是這樣的時刻:世界不斷變小,不平等持續擴大,人口變化以及恐怖主義蔓延,這些因素不只是對我們國家安全和經濟繁榮的考驗,也是對我們民主的考驗。我們如何來應對這些挑戰,將決定我們是否有能力教育好我們的孩子,創造優質的工作,並保護我們的家園。換言之,它將決定我們的未來。


在過去五十年以來,現在的醫療保健成本正在以最慢的速度上升。如果任何人能夠制定一個明顯優於目前醫療保健系統的改進計劃,並儘可能覆蓋更多的人,那我一定會公開表示支持。


我當選後,出現了一種說法是美國進入後種族時代(種族歧視已經不存在),這只是一個願景,並不是現實。因為種族問題在我們的社會中仍然是一種強有力的分裂力量。雖然這一問題得到了某種程度的改善,但我們每一個人都需要做出更多的努力。畢竟,如果每一個經濟問題都被看作是勤勞的白人中產階級和不受歡迎的少數民族之間的矛盾,那所有種族的工人只能是爭奪蠅頭小利,而富人坐收漁翁之利。


這一切都不容易。對於我們中的太多人來說,退回到我們自己的溫床裡最安全,無論是我們的社區或大學校園或禮拜場所或我們的社交媒體中,和那些與我們相似,有著同樣的政治背景,從不質疑我們的假設的人相處最舒適。赤裸裸的黨派之爭、日益增加的經濟和區域分層、媒體的分裂都成為政黨宣傳的工具——所有這一切使得這種區分似乎變得自然,甚至是不可避免的。我們變得躲在自己的泡沫裡,只接受符合我們意見的信息,而不是基於現有證據形成自己的觀點。


這不是總是使政治如此沮喪的那部分嗎?當我們建議將財務經費投入到孩子們的學齡前教育時,選舉官員對赤字感到如此憤怒,但是當為公司削減稅收時,為什麼不感到憤怒?其它黨派做出道德淪喪的事情時,我們緊緊抓住不放,但為什麼當我們自己的黨派做出相同的事情時,我們卻選擇原諒?這不僅是不誠實,而是對事實進行選擇;這會自取其咎,因為我的媽媽曾經告訴我,「事實總有一天會暴露在你面前。」


在短短8年時間裡,我們減少了對外國石油的依賴,使我們的可再生能源增加了一倍,並帶領世界達成了一項拯救地球的協議。如果不果斷行動,我們的孩子將不會再有時間來辯論氣候變化的存在;因為,他們將忙於應對其影響:環境災難、經濟破壞和尋求庇護的氣候難民潮。


假裝問題不存在不僅背叛了後代,它暴露了這個國家的本質精神。


由於我們的官員、執法人員和外交官的非凡勇氣,無論男性還是女性,在過去八年中,沒有外國恐怖組織成功實施對我們的家園的襲擊,雖然波士頓和奧蘭多提醒我們激進組織的危險性,單我們的執法機構比以往更加具有有效性和警惕性。我們已經制服了數萬名恐怖分子,包括拉登。


我們領導的全球聯盟已經牽制了伊拉克和黎凡特伊斯蘭國領導人,佔領了大約一半的領土。伊黎伊斯蘭國將被摧毀,任何威脅美國的人都將被制服。


這就是為什麼,在過去八年中,我一直致力於在一個更堅定的法律基礎上努力打擊恐怖主義,這就是為什麼我們能夠結束折磨,關閉關塔那摩灣(以作為美軍的拘留營而著名),並改革我們的監管法律,以保護隱私和公民自由。


這就是為什麼我反對歧視穆斯林美國人,這就是為什麼我們不能退出大規模的全球鬥爭——我們要擴大民主、人權、婦女權利和LGBT權利,無論我們的努力有多麼不完美。因為,這是捍衛美國的一部分。為了反對極端主義以及宗派主義和沙文主義,這是與反威權主義和民族主義侵略的鬥爭。


這也是我想要表達的最後一點:當我們把民主視為理所當然時,我們的民主就會受到威脅。我們所有人,不論黨派,都應該致力於重建我們的民主體制的任務。當投票率是發達民主國家中最低之一時,我們應該使投票更容易,而不是更難。當我們的組織信任度降低時,我們應該減少金錢在政治中的腐蝕性影響,並堅持透明度和道德的公共服務原則。當國會功能失調時,我們應該吸引我們的地區鼓勵政客迎合大眾需求,而不是僵化的極端。


所有這一切都取決於我們的參與;我們每個人都有公民的責任,無論權力以何種方式擺動。


我們的憲法是一個了不起的,美麗的禮物。但它真的只是一塊羊皮紙。它自己沒有力量。而是我們,人民,賦予它的權力——我們的參與,和我們做出的選擇。我們是否支持我們的自由,是否尊重和執行法治。美國並不脆弱,但是,我們漫長的自由之旅的成果並不確定。


如果你厭倦了在網絡上與陌生人爭論,嘗試在現實生活中與他們進行談話吧。如果有什麼需要改變,那就係好你的鞋帶,組織一些事情。如果你對你當選的官員感到失望,可以拿一張剪貼板,拿一些簽名,自己去辦公室,出面,深入追究,堅持不懈。


有時你會贏,有時你會輸。假設別人都具有善良的美德可能是一種風險,而且會有一段時間,這個過程會讓你失望。但是,對於我們這些有幸成為這項工作的一份子的人來說,仔細想想,我可以告訴你,它可以使每個人得到激勵和啟發。在這個過程中,你對美國和美國人的信心將得到證實,而我的信仰已經得到證實。


感謝Michelle,在過去的25年中,你不僅是我的妻子和我的孩子的母親,也一直是我最好的朋友。你所要承擔的這個角色並不是你自己要求的,但你卻用優雅、堅韌、獨特的風格和幽默感成功地完成了角色轉變。你使白宮成為屬於每個人的地方。而新一代的年輕人視野會更高,因為他們有你作為榜樣。


感謝瑪麗亞和薩莎,你們成為了兩個了不起的年輕女性,聰明和美麗,但更重要的是,善良和周到,充滿激情。你們在聚光燈下承受了多年的負擔。在我一生中所做的所有事情中,我最為自豪的是成為你們的父親。


副總統拜登,是我做出的首個提名,也是最棒的提名。不僅僅是因為你是一個偉大的副總統,也是因為我收穫到了你這樣一個兄弟。你就像我的家人一樣,與你的友誼也是我生活中的一大快樂所在。


對於我那些傑出的工作人員,八年的時間,甚至對其中一些人來說,時間還要更久,我被你們的精力所感染,回想你們每一天的表現,你們的性格、心靈和理想。八年的時間,其中有些人由單身,到結婚生子,開始自己人生路上的新旅程。雖然世事艱難,但你們一直沒有被打倒,你們讓我自豪。


對於你們所有的人,每位搬到陌生城市的組織者,每一名敲門宣傳的志願者,每一名第一次投票的年輕人,每個為這種變化努力的美國人,你們是最棒的支持者和組織者,我將永遠感激在心,因為是你們改變了世界,是你們的功勞。


這也是為什麼,我雖然離開仍保持樂觀的原因所在,因為我們的工作不僅僅是幫助到很多人,更是激發了很多美國人,尤其是年輕人,相信你們可以有一番作為。


這一代美國人無私、富有創造性,並飽含愛國精神,你們相信公平、公正和包容,你們知道不斷保持變化是美國的標誌,所以不要害怕,擁抱這些變化,你們會願意承擔這項艱鉅的民主工作。你們很快就會超越我們這些人,我相信,未來在你們手中。


我的同胞們,為你們服務是我的榮幸。我不會停止為你們服務,以後我將作為一個公民,與你們站在一起。最後,就像八年前一樣,我希望你們能夠堅持我們最開始的信念,那些來自奴隸和廢奴主義者爭取平等的信念,那些移民和自耕農人群的奮鬥不息的精神,以及那些對於民主自由權利的爭取,這些也是每一位美國人的信念,未來的篇章等待著你們去譜寫。


我希望你們能夠堅持我們最開始的信念,那些來自奴隸和廢奴主義者的想法,那些移民和自耕農人群的精神,以及那些正義的追隨者的信仰,這一信念是每個美國人的核心信念,未來的篇章等待著你們去譜寫。


是的,我們可以。


是的,我們做到了。


是的,我們可以。


願上帝保佑你們,願上帝保佑美國!



英文原文


It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks. Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.


I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.


After eight years as your President, I still believe that. And it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea – our bold experiment in self-government.


It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.


This is the great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination – and the imperative to strive together as well, to achieve a greater good.


For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. It’s what led patriots to choose republic over tyranny, pioneers to trek west, slaves to brave that makeshift railroad to freedom. It’s what pulled immigrants and refugees across oceans and the Rio Grande, pushed women to reach for the ballot, powered workers to organize. It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.


So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.


Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard, contentious and sometimes bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.


If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11…if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high.


But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.


In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next. I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.


We have what we need to do so. After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on Earth. Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours.


But that potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of the our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.


That’s what I want to focus on tonight – the state of our democracy.


Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.


There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism – these forces haven’t just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.


In other words, it will determine our future.


Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again. The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.


That, after all, is why we serve – to make people’s lives better, not worse.


But for all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough. Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class. But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top one percent has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and health care worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.


There are no quick fixes to this long-term trend. I agree that our trade should be fair and not just free. But the next wave of economic dislocation won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete.


And so we must forge a new social compact – to guarantee all our kids the education they need; to give workers the power to unionize for better wages; to update the social safety net to reflect the way we live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and individuals who reap the most from the new economy don’t avoid their obligations to the country that’s made their success possible. We can argue about how to best achieve these goals. But we can’t be complacent about the goals themselves. For if we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only sharpen in years to come.


There’s a second threat to our democracy – one as old as our nation itself. After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.


But we’re not where we need to be. All of us have more work to do. After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. If we decline to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we diminish the prospects of our own children – because those brown kids will represent a larger share of America’s workforce. And our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.


Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require. But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”


For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.


For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.


For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.


So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.


None of this is easy. For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.


This trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.


Isn’t that part of what makes politics so dispiriting? How can elected officials rage about deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids, but not when we’re cutting taxes for corporations? How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing? It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.


Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years, we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our renewable energy, and led the world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet. But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change; they’ll be busy dealing with its effects: environmental disasters, economic disruptions, and waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary.


Now, we can and should argue about the best approach to the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our Founders.


It’s that spirit, born of the Enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse – the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.


It’s that spirit – a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primacy of right over might, that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression, and build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but on principles – the rule of law, human rights, freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, and an independent press.


That order is now being challenged – first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.


Because of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, and the intelligence officers, law enforcement, and diplomats who support them, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years; and although Boston and Orlando remind us of how dangerous radicalization can be, our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever. We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists – including Osama bin Laden. The global coalition we’re leading against ISIL has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory. ISIL will be destroyed, and no one who threatens America will ever be safe. To all who serve, it has been the honor of my lifetime to be your Commander-in-Chief.


But protecting our way of life requires more than our military. Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. That’s why, for the past eight years, I’ve worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firm legal footing. That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, and reform our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans. That’s why we cannot withdraw from global fights – to expand democracy, and human rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights – no matter how imperfect our efforts, no matter how expedient ignoring such values may seem. For the fight against extremism and intolerance and sectarianism are of a piece with the fight against authoritarianism and nationalist aggression. If the scope of freedom and respect for the rule of law shrinks around the world, the likelihood of war within and between nations increases, and our own freedoms will eventually be threatened.


So let’s be vigilant, but not afraid. ISIL will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world – unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors.


Which brings me to my final point – our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should make it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.


And all of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.


Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.


In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken…to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;” that we should preserve it with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.


We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.


It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.


Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed.


Mine sure has been. Over the course of these eight years, I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve mourned with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in Charleston church. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and our wounded warriors walk again. I’ve seen our doctors and volunteers rebuild after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us of our obligations to care for refugees, to work in peace, and above all to look out for each other.


That faith I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change – that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined. I hope yours has, too. Some of you here tonight or watching at home were there with us in 2004, in 2008, in 2012 – and maybe you still can’t believe we pulled this whole thing off.


You’re not the only ones. Michelle – for the past twenty-five years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.


Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.


To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware’s favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best. Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother. We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life.


To my remarkable staff: For eight years – and for some of you, a whole lot more – I’ve drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism. I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we’ve done is the thought of all the remarkable things you’ll achieve from here.


And to all of you out there – every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change – you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world.


That’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started. Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans – especially so many young people out there – to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.


My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain. For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.


I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.


I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:


Yes We Can.


Yes We Did.


Yes We Can.


Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.


寄語國人相信努力尋求改變 奧巴馬「Yes, we did」淚別


《成報》Facebook連結


《漢江泄評論》


【特首選戰】

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