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美国民主不是电视真人秀
The temptation of Oprah Winfrey

来源:FT中文网    2018-01-12 07:01



        It is easy to see why so many Americans are tempted. As her speech at the Golden Globes ceremony showed, Oprah Winfrey is everything that Donald Trump is not.         显而易见,为什么这么多美国人动了心。正如奥普拉•温弗瑞(Oprah Winfrey)在金球奖(Golden Globes)典礼上发表的演讲体现出来的,她具备一切唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)不具备的特质。
        Unlike Mr Trump, Ms Winfrey is a certified billionaire. She made her name by marketing empathy as opposed to saying “you’re fired”. She donates to charitable causes rather than pretending to do so. And she is self-made while Mr Trump was born in a feathered nest. But they share a disqualifying trait: they are celebrities with no experience in politics. If Ms Winfrey is the answer to Mr Trump, what was the question?        和特朗普不同,温弗瑞是一个合格的亿万富翁。她依靠营销共鸣出名,而不是靠说“你被解雇了”。她向慈善事业捐款,而不是假装做慈善。温弗瑞是白手起家,而特朗普出生于富贵之家。但两人都有一个不够格的特质:他们都是没有政治经验的名人。如果温弗瑞是解决特朗普问题的答案,那问题又是什么呢?
        I mean no disrespect to famous people. America invented the celebrity and nobody does it as well. But America also came up with modern democracy. The problem is that celebrity culture is taking over politics, which is a dead loss for governing. If politics were a popularity contest, Ms Winfrey would deserve to win. Against Mr Trump, she would merit a North Korean-style 100 per cent turnout. But there is nothing in Ms Winfrey’s background that would equip her to tackle the future of work, or the rise of China. All a Winfrey administration would bring is personal brand destruction.        我无意冒犯名人。“名人”的概念诞生在美国,在这一点上美国无出其右。但美国也是现代民主的发源地。问题在于,名人文化正逐渐凌驾于政治之上,而这种文化对国家治理毫无用处。如果政治比拼的是人气,温弗瑞理应获胜。如果对战特朗普,她的得票率会达到朝鲜式的百分之百。但看一看温弗瑞的资历,其中并没有什么东西让她有能力应对就业的未来,或者中国的崛起。温弗瑞入主白宫只能导致她个人名誉扫地。
        What is at stake is America’s ability to govern itself sensibly. The US constitution was designed to exclude mob rule. The people should have their say — but with safeguards. It was set up precisely to stop someone like Mr Trump from taking over. The fact that many Americans do not know this underlines the point. The popular view is that the US was founded as a democracy. In fact, it was born as a constitutional republic. There is a big difference. America’s founding fathers feared the demagogue. Their system worked until 2016. Now it is in jeopardy.        真正处于生死存亡关头的是美国理性治理的能力。美国宪法的设计初衷是为了避免暴民统治。人民理应有发言权——但是要配上保护手段。美国宪法的目的就是为了防止特朗普这样的人掌权。很多美国人并不知道这一点,这就愈发凸显出其重要性。大众普遍认为,美国是作为一个民主国家建立起来的。实际上,美国是作为一个宪政共和国诞生的。二者截然不同。美国国父们担心的就是蛊惑人心和煽动民众的政客。他们创造的体系直到2016年之前都行之有效。如今却岌岌可危。
        Ms Winfrey’s ascent would seal America’s fate as a country that no longer takes politics seriously. If the answer to Mr Trump is to fight celebrity with celebrity, the idea of public service would die. For all her virtues, Ms Winfrey is no readier for power than Mr Trump. By contrast, Ronald Reagan, who was twice elected as governor of California and had once before run for the nomination, was qualified for high office. He began life as an actor but he did not reach the White House because of that. A life in politics taught Mr Reagan the art of compromise. Politics is about spending capital to achieve messy results. Being a celebrity is about protecting your brand.        温弗瑞如果上位,将决定美国的命运,使美国成为一个不再认真对待政治的国家。如果特朗普问题的答案是让名人对战名人,公共服务的理念将荡然无存。尽管温弗瑞有种种优点,她却不比特朗普有更充分的准备接掌权力。相比之下,罗纳德•里根(Ronald Reagan)两度当选加利福尼亚州州长,并曾参加过总统候选人提名的角逐,他是有资格当总统的。里根虽出身演员,但入主白宫却不是靠演员的名头。政治生涯教会里根妥协的艺术。政治就像是花钱却得到乱糟糟的结果。当名人则是要维护自己的声誉。
        Perhaps America is too far gone to stop the celebrity takeover. Other democracies offer warning signs. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi is staging a comeback. The octogenarian is in with another chance of power in Italy’s next election a few weeks from now. Having elected him on previous occasions, Italy’s standards are permanently lowered. The Roman pantomime has become normal. In Germany, by contrast, politics is still safely boring. Because of its history, Germany is better inoculated than most to the siren song of celebrity. In the past, western democracies built walls between church and state. The wall we need today is one that would separate entertainment from governing.        美国也许已经深陷名人文化之中,无力阻止名人当政。然而其它民主国家也出现了危险的迹象。在意大利,西尔维奥•贝卢斯科尼(Silvio Berlusconi)正卷土重来。在意大利未来几周举行的下一届选举中,这位八旬老翁有机会再次掌权。贝卢斯科尼之前已经当选了几次,导致意大利对掌权者的标准永久性降低。在罗马,人们对闹剧已司空见惯。相比之下,德国政治依旧令人乏味但稳妥。由于历史原因,德国比大多数国家更能抵抗名人危险的诱惑力。过去,西方民主国家建立了隔开宗教与政府的墙。如今我们需要一堵隔开娱乐与国家治理的墙。
        But let us suppose that is impossible. What would happen in a 2020 face off between Mr Trump and Ms Winfrey? The first casualty would be the Democratic party. By nominating Ms Winfrey, it would have conceded the argument that democracy is a reality television show. Today there is still one party that values expertise. Tomorrow there may be none.         假设我们无法建立这样一堵墙。如果特朗普和温弗瑞在2020年对决,会发生什么呢?民主党将成为第一个受害者。提名温弗瑞为总统候选人就意味着民主党承认民主是一场电视真人秀。今天还有一个政党是重视专业技能的。明天可能就一个也不剩了。
        The second casualty would be Ms Winfrey. The Trump machine would scour her biography for any mud that would stick. In a contest between brands, Mr Trump would relish the prospect of taking on a rich, black liberal woman. He might well win. Even if Ms Winfrey won, the contest would entrench culture war as the dominant mode of US politics. Culture wars are a zero-sum game. Even when you win, you are losing.        温弗瑞将是第二个受害者。特朗普将动用一切力量从温弗瑞的生平里搜寻她难以洗脱的污点。在一场名人品牌之战中,特朗普将享受与一个自由主义的富有黑人女性较量的场景。他还是有可能胜出。就算温弗瑞赢了,这场较量将使文化之战成为美国政治根深蒂固的主要模式。文化之战是零和游戏。就算你赢了,你其实也输了。
        The only time Ms Winfrey dabbled in politics was when she endorsed Barack Obama in 2008. I was at that New Hampshire event. “You are the one,” said Ms Winfrey of Mr Obama. It was an electrifying moment. Mr Obama was also accused of lacking experience. Compared to Ms Winfrey, he was a veteran. Ten years on, Mr Obama would be a good sounding board for Ms Winfrey. If his advice is wrong, she should listen to Nancy Pelosi, the most seasoned Democratic legislator. “One of the arguments for Oprah is 45,” she said — in reference to Mr Trump as America’s 45th president. “One of the arguments against Oprah is 45.” Which was Ms Pelosi’s way of saying: “Stick to your day job.” That was smart advice.        此前温弗瑞唯一一次涉足政治还是在2008年她支持奥巴马的时候。他们在新罕布什尔州举办活动的时候我就在场。当时温弗瑞称赞奥巴马:“您就是被选中的人。”那是一个激动人心的时刻。奥巴马也曾被指责缺乏经验,但与温弗瑞比,他已经算政治老手了。十年过去了,奥巴马可以为温弗瑞当个好顾问。如果他的建议不对,温弗瑞应该听取最资深的民主党议员南希•佩洛西(Nancy Pelosi)的意见。“45是支持奥普拉的理由之一,”她说(特朗普是第45任美国总统),“45也是反对奥普拉的理由之一。”佩洛西是在用她的方式表达:“做好自己的本职工作吧。”多睿智的建议啊。
        edward.luce@ft.com        译者/徐行
                
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