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美文选刊|美国大选引发的思考(双语)
发布日期:2021-03-02 10:52:01  发布者:林巍


此次美国大选中的宪法隐忧

Hidden Constitutional Hazards Revealed

in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election




文、译/林巍


世界瞩目的2020年美国总统大选在波澜起伏【1】落幕【2】了,国家元首的权力也算交接平稳,但留下诸多悬而未决的问题,特别是涉及到了美国宪法的有效性和可行性,仍发人深思。

The 2020 U.S. presidential election, widely watched in the world, finally came to an end amid ups and downs, and the power transfer between heads of state was nonetheless “smooth”. However, many pending questions, particularly concerning the validity and feasibility of the U.S. Constitution, have remained to provoke thought. 

【1】“波澜起伏”, 似还可译成twists and turns、with one climax following another等。

【2】“落幕”,字面意思 ring down the curtain、drop scene,此处不妨简单明了为 to an end。


美国宪法自1787年制定,二百余年来,被认为是美国宪政制度的基石,确保了美国社会的稳定与繁荣。其中,定期公平、公正、公开的选举,是其核心内容【3】之一。然而,此次陷入了问题的沼泽。

The Constitution of the United States, established in 1787, has been regarded as the cornerstone of the American constitutional system, and ensured the stability and prosperity of American society for more than 200 years. One of its core values is embodied in regular elections characterized by fairness, justice and openness, which this time was unfortunately stuck in a quagmire of problems.

【3】此处的“核心内容” 实质为“核心价值”,故可为 core value。类似的如:尽管该产品又有了多方面的开发,但其核心内容始终如一。(Although it’s broadened and deepened in many dimensions, the core values have stayed the same.)


正如法国政治思想家托克维尔在论及美国的民主时所言:“美国的联邦宪法,好像能工巧匠创造的一件只能使发明人成名发财【4】、而落到他人之手就变成一无用处的美丽艺术品。”换言之,民主制度只对具有民主意识、愿意遵守民主规则的人群起作用;相反,则所设计的弥补和反制措施显然不足。

In commenting on American democracy, the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The federal constitution of the United States seems to be a work of craftsmen, from which only the inventor can make fame and fortune; when falling into the hands of others, it becomes a useless piece of artwork”. In other words, democracy works only for those who are democratically aware and willing to abide by democratic rules. Otherwise, the remedies and countermeasures designed are clearly inadequate. 

【4】 “只能使发明人成名发财”,似乎是 which can only make the inventor famous and rich,但此处可根据其意变客观为主观:from which only the inventor can make fame and fortune。 

此次大选最具争议的焦点:是否存在系统性大选舞弊【5】。对此,在任总统的支持者与反对者各执一词,且都声称手握大量证据。根据司法独立的原则,只有共赴公堂,去法院讲理。然而,发起的将近60个试图推翻大选结果的法律诉讼,被所有法院分别以缺少证据、违反法律原则或者违反宪政而驳回,不予立案。结果,事实真相未能澄清、公示于众,令选民未能心服口服。这也是导致今年1月6日众人暴力围攻国会大厦的原因之一【6】

The most controversial issue in this election was whether there was systematic election fraud. Supporters and opponents of the incumbent president are furiously divided over the issue, and both claim to hold plenty of evidence.  According to the principle of judicial independence, the only place they can reason is the court. However, nearly 60 lawsuits filed to try to overturn the election results were dismissed by all the courts for lack of evidence, violation of legal principles, or violation of constitutional law. As a result, the facts have not been clarified and made public, causing quite a lot of voters not to be sincerely convinced, which partially contributed to the violent siege of the Houses Parliament on 6th January this year. 

【5】“此次大选最具争议的焦点:是否存在系统性大选舞弊”,译文可打破原文的标点符号模式,以译入语的习惯译为:The most controversial issue in this election was whether there were systematic election frauds.

【6】“这也是导致……”,可将单句变通为从句 which partially contributed to…。


美国宪法制定者们当时考虑最多的,是如何防止总统个人权力过大,因而设计了各种制约功能(主要是“三权分立”)。从本次大选过程看,这一方面似乎体现得很充分,但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差【7】

What the framers of the US Constitution thought about most at the time was how to prevent any President from exercising excessive personal power: various mechanisms to check and balance embodied in a “tripartite” political system were thus designed. Viewing the 2020 election, while one side of the restrictions was fully functional, the other seemingly went astray. 

【7】 “这一方面似乎体现得很充分,但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差”,可采取增译与减译的策略,即:“这一方面”增译为one side of restrictions;“但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差”,因语境中其意已明(特别是前面还有mechanisms of check and balance), 故此处可简略为the other seemingly went astray。


应当说,在制度上【8】对于法官(司法权)并不存在民主监督,如果他们具有了党派倾向当如何察觉、纠正?同时,不同选区的议员亦可在不同方式和程度上背离其选民意志;特别是,众议院(立法权)在大选结束后,又通过了一项弹劾前总统的法案,为违法宪法的第2条第4款开了先例。

Institutionally, one has to admit that there is no democratic supervision of judges (judicial power). So a problem arises: What happens if judges have a partisan inclination and how that can be detected, reviewed and corrected? Meanwhile, representatives of different districts can also deviate from the will of their voters in one way or another. Particularly, after the election, the House of Representatives (legislative power) passed a bill to impeach the “former president”, setting a precedent for the violation of article 2, paragraph 4 of the Constitution.

【8】“在制度上”, 似乎是 systematically、structurally, 其实就制度的机制而言,应为 institution、institutional、institutionally,类似的如:①其中原因部分是技术上的,部分则是制度上的。(The reasons are part technical, part institutional.)②但此类制度上的压力不可能是造成这类结果的唯一原因。(But institutional pressures of this sort are unlikely to be solely responsible)。


作为第四权力的主流媒体,在此次大选中更是党派立场鲜明,起到了一面倒的推波助澜作用。甚而,某大传媒公司竟然永久性地封闭了时任总统及其支持者们的账号,公然【9】违反美国宪法第一修正案关于公民言论自由的规定。

Mainstream media, which is supposed to be the fourth power, demonstrating a clear-cut party stance in this election, played a one-sided role to add fuel to the flames. Moreover, a major media company has permanently closed the accounts of the incumbent president and his supporters, flagrantly violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s Free-Speech Act.

【9】“公然”(违反)如同“悍然”(发动),这类词带有很强的主观和褒贬色彩,所以不应只是用openly、undisguisedly,而可用flagrantly、brazenly、outrageously等。


所以,制度固然重要,但制度不是万能的,因为再好的制度也要人来理解、执行、评估。随着日益全球化的进程,如果与该制度相生相伴人群【10】的组成、信仰、道德、操守等发生了很大变化,那么其实际效果还会是一样的吗?正如若土壤的成分已经变了,其所生长的植物能不发生变化吗?【11】

Surely, its political system plays a vital role in ruling any country, but it’s not omnipotent. Any system, no matter how effective it may be, will after all be executed and evaluated by people with their own ideas. With the process of globalization, the composition, beliefs, values and ethics of American society have altered greatly, so will its actual effect still be the same? Very much like plantations, one kind of soil grows the same sort of plants.

【10】“相生相伴人群”,讲的比较泛化,考虑到其具体含义,不宜按字面意思译成the people accompanying the system,而可将其具体化为 American society。

【11】“土壤的成分已经变了,其所生长的植物能不发生变化吗?”,也不宜套用其句式,而可作相应变通。


其实,从根本上讲,美国宪法的制定是一次伟大妥协的成果——除了总统选举方式上的妥协,还有多数与少数、分与合等基本关系方面的折中,有大州和小州在国会代表制上、北部与南部就税收和代表权上如何计算奴隶人数等的平衡【12】。然而,让人遗憾的是,在此次总统选举中,各方展现更多的却是一种极端和对立的情绪,与开国之父们的宽容精神相去甚远【13】

Fundamentally speaking, the formulation of the US Constitution was the result of a great compromise. Apart from compromising the way of how the president should be elected, there were also reconciliations between the majority and minority, division and unity, large and small states in the representation of Congress, and the balance between the northern and southern states in terms of revenue and representation in calculating the number of slaves. Unfortunately, however, in this presidential election, there were even more extreme and antagonistic sentiments, which had almost nothing to do with the tolerant spirit embodied by the Founding Fathers.

【12】其中的“妥协”“折中”“平衡”不一定采用其惯用对称词语,而应根据此处具体的语境作相应变通。

【13】“相去甚远”,一般似可译成wide apart、at opposite poles、poles asunder,而had almost nothing to do with 更为直截了当。


长远看,任何社会总是在失衡与平衡中前行的【14】,民主社会固然具有内在纠错功能,但以上诸多问题却是美国社会所无法回避的颇为严峻的宪法隐患。 

In the long run, any society has to move forward by striking the right balance between extremes. While a democratic society may be endowed with the inherent function of correcting errors, the above-mentioned problems are nevertheless quite serious constitutional hazards that American society has to confront.

【14】“在失衡与平衡中前行的” ,似可译成move forward amid imbalance and balance,但就其实质含义而言,应为 to move forward by striking the right balance between extremes,其中在词语对应部分有减有增。



学术动态

美文选刊|美国大选引发的思考(双语)

郑航航 · 2021-03-02


此次美国大选中的宪法隐忧

Hidden Constitutional Hazards Revealed

in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election




文、译/林巍


世界瞩目的2020年美国总统大选在波澜起伏【1】落幕【2】了,国家元首的权力也算交接平稳,但留下诸多悬而未决的问题,特别是涉及到了美国宪法的有效性和可行性,仍发人深思。

The 2020 U.S. presidential election, widely watched in the world, finally came to an end amid ups and downs, and the power transfer between heads of state was nonetheless “smooth”. However, many pending questions, particularly concerning the validity and feasibility of the U.S. Constitution, have remained to provoke thought. 

【1】“波澜起伏”, 似还可译成twists and turns、with one climax following another等。

【2】“落幕”,字面意思 ring down the curtain、drop scene,此处不妨简单明了为 to an end。


美国宪法自1787年制定,二百余年来,被认为是美国宪政制度的基石,确保了美国社会的稳定与繁荣。其中,定期公平、公正、公开的选举,是其核心内容【3】之一。然而,此次陷入了问题的沼泽。

The Constitution of the United States, established in 1787, has been regarded as the cornerstone of the American constitutional system, and ensured the stability and prosperity of American society for more than 200 years. One of its core values is embodied in regular elections characterized by fairness, justice and openness, which this time was unfortunately stuck in a quagmire of problems.

【3】此处的“核心内容” 实质为“核心价值”,故可为 core value。类似的如:尽管该产品又有了多方面的开发,但其核心内容始终如一。(Although it’s broadened and deepened in many dimensions, the core values have stayed the same.)


正如法国政治思想家托克维尔在论及美国的民主时所言:“美国的联邦宪法,好像能工巧匠创造的一件只能使发明人成名发财【4】、而落到他人之手就变成一无用处的美丽艺术品。”换言之,民主制度只对具有民主意识、愿意遵守民主规则的人群起作用;相反,则所设计的弥补和反制措施显然不足。

In commenting on American democracy, the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The federal constitution of the United States seems to be a work of craftsmen, from which only the inventor can make fame and fortune; when falling into the hands of others, it becomes a useless piece of artwork”. In other words, democracy works only for those who are democratically aware and willing to abide by democratic rules. Otherwise, the remedies and countermeasures designed are clearly inadequate. 

【4】 “只能使发明人成名发财”,似乎是 which can only make the inventor famous and rich,但此处可根据其意变客观为主观:from which only the inventor can make fame and fortune。 

此次大选最具争议的焦点:是否存在系统性大选舞弊【5】。对此,在任总统的支持者与反对者各执一词,且都声称手握大量证据。根据司法独立的原则,只有共赴公堂,去法院讲理。然而,发起的将近60个试图推翻大选结果的法律诉讼,被所有法院分别以缺少证据、违反法律原则或者违反宪政而驳回,不予立案。结果,事实真相未能澄清、公示于众,令选民未能心服口服。这也是导致今年1月6日众人暴力围攻国会大厦的原因之一【6】

The most controversial issue in this election was whether there was systematic election fraud. Supporters and opponents of the incumbent president are furiously divided over the issue, and both claim to hold plenty of evidence.  According to the principle of judicial independence, the only place they can reason is the court. However, nearly 60 lawsuits filed to try to overturn the election results were dismissed by all the courts for lack of evidence, violation of legal principles, or violation of constitutional law. As a result, the facts have not been clarified and made public, causing quite a lot of voters not to be sincerely convinced, which partially contributed to the violent siege of the Houses Parliament on 6th January this year. 

【5】“此次大选最具争议的焦点:是否存在系统性大选舞弊”,译文可打破原文的标点符号模式,以译入语的习惯译为:The most controversial issue in this election was whether there were systematic election frauds.

【6】“这也是导致……”,可将单句变通为从句 which partially contributed to…。


美国宪法制定者们当时考虑最多的,是如何防止总统个人权力过大,因而设计了各种制约功能(主要是“三权分立”)。从本次大选过程看,这一方面似乎体现得很充分,但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差【7】

What the framers of the US Constitution thought about most at the time was how to prevent any President from exercising excessive personal power: various mechanisms to check and balance embodied in a “tripartite” political system were thus designed. Viewing the 2020 election, while one side of the restrictions was fully functional, the other seemingly went astray. 

【7】 “这一方面似乎体现得很充分,但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差”,可采取增译与减译的策略,即:“这一方面”增译为one side of restrictions;“但其他制衡方面则出现了偏差”,因语境中其意已明(特别是前面还有mechanisms of check and balance), 故此处可简略为the other seemingly went astray。


应当说,在制度上【8】对于法官(司法权)并不存在民主监督,如果他们具有了党派倾向当如何察觉、纠正?同时,不同选区的议员亦可在不同方式和程度上背离其选民意志;特别是,众议院(立法权)在大选结束后,又通过了一项弹劾前总统的法案,为违法宪法的第2条第4款开了先例。

Institutionally, one has to admit that there is no democratic supervision of judges (judicial power). So a problem arises: What happens if judges have a partisan inclination and how that can be detected, reviewed and corrected? Meanwhile, representatives of different districts can also deviate from the will of their voters in one way or another. Particularly, after the election, the House of Representatives (legislative power) passed a bill to impeach the “former president”, setting a precedent for the violation of article 2, paragraph 4 of the Constitution.

【8】“在制度上”, 似乎是 systematically、structurally, 其实就制度的机制而言,应为 institution、institutional、institutionally,类似的如:①其中原因部分是技术上的,部分则是制度上的。(The reasons are part technical, part institutional.)②但此类制度上的压力不可能是造成这类结果的唯一原因。(But institutional pressures of this sort are unlikely to be solely responsible)。


作为第四权力的主流媒体,在此次大选中更是党派立场鲜明,起到了一面倒的推波助澜作用。甚而,某大传媒公司竟然永久性地封闭了时任总统及其支持者们的账号,公然【9】违反美国宪法第一修正案关于公民言论自由的规定。

Mainstream media, which is supposed to be the fourth power, demonstrating a clear-cut party stance in this election, played a one-sided role to add fuel to the flames. Moreover, a major media company has permanently closed the accounts of the incumbent president and his supporters, flagrantly violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s Free-Speech Act.

【9】“公然”(违反)如同“悍然”(发动),这类词带有很强的主观和褒贬色彩,所以不应只是用openly、undisguisedly,而可用flagrantly、brazenly、outrageously等。


所以,制度固然重要,但制度不是万能的,因为再好的制度也要人来理解、执行、评估。随着日益全球化的进程,如果与该制度相生相伴人群【10】的组成、信仰、道德、操守等发生了很大变化,那么其实际效果还会是一样的吗?正如若土壤的成分已经变了,其所生长的植物能不发生变化吗?【11】

Surely, its political system plays a vital role in ruling any country, but it’s not omnipotent. Any system, no matter how effective it may be, will after all be executed and evaluated by people with their own ideas. With the process of globalization, the composition, beliefs, values and ethics of American society have altered greatly, so will its actual effect still be the same? Very much like plantations, one kind of soil grows the same sort of plants.

【10】“相生相伴人群”,讲的比较泛化,考虑到其具体含义,不宜按字面意思译成the people accompanying the system,而可将其具体化为 American society。

【11】“土壤的成分已经变了,其所生长的植物能不发生变化吗?”,也不宜套用其句式,而可作相应变通。


其实,从根本上讲,美国宪法的制定是一次伟大妥协的成果——除了总统选举方式上的妥协,还有多数与少数、分与合等基本关系方面的折中,有大州和小州在国会代表制上、北部与南部就税收和代表权上如何计算奴隶人数等的平衡【12】。然而,让人遗憾的是,在此次总统选举中,各方展现更多的却是一种极端和对立的情绪,与开国之父们的宽容精神相去甚远【13】

Fundamentally speaking, the formulation of the US Constitution was the result of a great compromise. Apart from compromising the way of how the president should be elected, there were also reconciliations between the majority and minority, division and unity, large and small states in the representation of Congress, and the balance between the northern and southern states in terms of revenue and representation in calculating the number of slaves. Unfortunately, however, in this presidential election, there were even more extreme and antagonistic sentiments, which had almost nothing to do with the tolerant spirit embodied by the Founding Fathers.

【12】其中的“妥协”“折中”“平衡”不一定采用其惯用对称词语,而应根据此处具体的语境作相应变通。

【13】“相去甚远”,一般似可译成wide apart、at opposite poles、poles asunder,而had almost nothing to do with 更为直截了当。


长远看,任何社会总是在失衡与平衡中前行的【14】,民主社会固然具有内在纠错功能,但以上诸多问题却是美国社会所无法回避的颇为严峻的宪法隐患。 

In the long run, any society has to move forward by striking the right balance between extremes. While a democratic society may be endowed with the inherent function of correcting errors, the above-mentioned problems are nevertheless quite serious constitutional hazards that American society has to confront.

【14】“在失衡与平衡中前行的” ,似可译成move forward amid imbalance and balance,但就其实质含义而言,应为 to move forward by striking the right balance between extremes,其中在词语对应部分有减有增。