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Government 美国政府

Government 美国政府
  "Of the people, by the people, and for the people." That's how Abraham Lincoln described the American government in his Gettysburg Address. These simple phrases capture the essence of American democracy. Instead of ruling over U.S. citizens, the government is ruled by them. Elected officials are known as public servants who represent their constituents. Americans can get involved in government by voting, by writing letters to their representatives and even by organizing peaceful demonstrations to make their voices heard. Each American citizen has a vested interest in how he or she is governed. Former President Theodore Roosevelt expressed the American view of government well: "The government is us."

  「民有、民治、民享」,这是亚伯拉罕.林肯在盖茨堡演说时,描绘的美国政府。这简短的几个字道出了美国民主的真谛。美国政府不是统治人民而是受人民所统治。民选的官员被认为是人民的公仆,他们代表的是他们的选民。美国人可经由投票,向他们的代表陈情、甚至于组织和平的示威活动,来发表心声,参与政事。每一个美国公民都有一份保护自身利益的权利与义务,来决定他们的政府该如何执政,前总统泰迪.罗斯福深刻地表达了美国人对政府的看法:「政府就是我们。」


  At first glance, it might seem that the U.S. president, as "leader of the free world," is the "ruler" of America. On Inauguration Day, the swearing in of President Bill Clinton for his second term will reflect the pomp and circumstance of a coronation ceremony, with dignitaries from around the world in attendance. Even as far back as George Washington, who once rejected a suggestion to become "King of America," people have sought to ascribe far-reaching powers to the president. But the Constitution ensures that the president will not become an all-powerful ruler.

  乍看之下,身为「自由世界领袖」的美国总统似乎是美国的「统治者」。在就职日,来自世界各地达官显要的出席,使柯林顿总统的第二任就职宣誓仪式,如同国王加冕典礼一般的华丽与隆重。即使远朔自华盛顿总统,他曾经拒绝了成为「美国国王」的建议,人们还是想要把无比的权力赋予总统。但是美国宪法确保了总统不会成为一个集权的统治者。


  The U.S. government, as outlined by the Constitution, is divided into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative branch passes the laws, the executive enforces the laws and the judicial interprets the laws. The legislative branch is comprised of the two houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thanks to CNN, C/SPAN and the nightly news, many lawmakers have almost become celebrities in their own right. The executive branch is represented by the president, who is called the chief executive or chief of state. Besides that, as commander in chief of the armed forces, the president carries more than a little clout in world affairs. The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court and about 100 other federal courts. The nine Supreme Court justices hold office for life.

  美国宪法概略的将政府分为三部份:立法部门、行政部门及司法部门。立法部门通过法律:行政部门执行法律而司法部门诠释法律。立法部门由国会的参议院及众议院所组成。承蒙CNN及C/SPAN和夜间新闻之抬爱,这些议员们都因个人的论调、举止成了名人。行政部门由总统代表,他被称为最高行政长官、或是国家元首。除此之外,身为三军司令,美国总统在世界局势所有的影响力也是不小的。司法部门是由最高法院及大约100个其它的联邦法院所组成。九位最高法院的法官是终身职。


  In order to prevent any one branch of government from becoming more powerful than the other two, the Constitution has established a system of "checks and balances." For instance, when Congress passes a bill, it must have the signature of the president in order to become law. But even if the president rejects the bill, Congress can override his veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate. The Supreme Court, as final arbiter of the Constitution, can overturn legislative acts or executive orders if it finds them to be unconstitutional. In this way, the powers of government are balanced, or held in check.

  为避免任何一个部门的权力大过其它两个部门,宪法设立了一套「制衡」制度。例如,当国会通过一个法案,它必须由总统签署后才能成为法律。但即使总统否决了这个法案,国会可以透过参、众两院三分之二的票数同意而不顾他的否决。身为宪法最后仲裁者的最高法院,如果发现法令或是行政命令违宪,可以将其推翻。如此,政府的权力就可以被制衡了。


  In many countries, power rests with a strong centralized government. In contrast, under the American federal system, the national government shares its power with the state governments. The federal government possesses only those powers clearly delineated in the Constitution; all remaining powers are reserved for the states.

  在许多国家,权力集中于中央政府。相对之下,在美国联邦制度下,国家政府与州政府分摊权力。联邦政府只拥有宪法中明确陈述的权力,其它所有的权力都保留在州政府。


  The English political theorist Thomas Paine wrote in 1776, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." The American government, like every government, has its share of thorny problems. An increasing number of governmental agencies and government workers has created the problem of bureaucracy, where a mountain of paperwork stifles efficiency. Lobbyists make appeals to Congress on behalf of special interest groups. As a result, those with the biggest lobby--and the most money--tend to have the loudest voice in Washington.

  英国政治理论家汤玛士.潘尼在一七七六年写道:「政府,即使在在其最好的状态,也不过是一个无可避免的恶魔;在它最坏的状态,就是一个无法忍受的恶魔。」美国政府就像每一个政府一样,也有棘手的问题。不断增加的政府机构及公务员造成了官僚政治的问题,使堆积如山的纸上作业扼杀了效率。游说者为特定利益团体向国会上诉请愿。结果,说官人数最多,即钱最多的团体,在华盛顿就有最大的声音。


  Americans harbor mixed feelings about their own government. They recognize the need for it, but they remain suspicious of it. To some Americans, the government is Big Brother, an oppressive organization which delights in taxing its people and meddling in their affairs. To others, the government is a rich Uncle Sam who provides for the poor and protects his people from bullies at home and abroad. But no matter how they view their government, Americans wouldn't trade it for any other on the face of the earth.

  美国人对他们自己的政府怀有复杂的情感。他们知道它存在必要性,但还是对它存疑。对某些美国人来说,政府是一个压抑人民的组织,以向人民征税为乐,并干预人民隐私的「老大哥」。对其他人来说,政府是一个富有的山姆叔叔,它供养穷人并保护它的人民在国内外免受欺凌。不管他们怎样看待他们的政府,美国人都不会将它与地球上任何一个政府交换的。