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2019年11月17日 07:19:13 | 作者:健步报 | 来源:新华社
Mario Matthew Cuomo"Religious Belief and Public Morality""The Catholic Church's actions with respect to the interplay of religious values and public policy make clear that there is no inflexible moral principle which determines what our political conduct should be."[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]Thank you very much, Father Hesburgh, Father McBrien, all the distinguished clergy who are present, ladies and gentlemen:I am very pleased to be at Notre Dame and I feel very much at home, frankly -- not just because you have seven or eight hundred students from New York state, not just because -- not just because Father McBrien's mother's name is Catherine Botticelli -- a beautiful name -- not just because Father Hesburgh is a Syracuse native, but also because of your magnificent history of great football teams. Oh, the subway -- They mean a lot to us, the...great Fighting Irish. The subway alumni of New York City have always been enthralled. And for years and years all over the state, Syracuse north and south, out on Long Island, people on Saturday's would listen to their radio and now watch their television to watch the great Fighting Irish wearing the Gallic Green. It's marvelous. The names of your great players reverberate back from the years: Nick Buoniconti, Nick Pietrosante, Angelo Bertelli. How about Ralph Guglielmi? What a great player he is.I want to begin this talk by drawing your attention to the title of the lecture: "Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor's Perspective." I was not invited to speak on "church and state" generally, and certainly not to speak on "Mondale against Reagan." The subject assigned to me is difficult enough. I'll not try to do more than I've been asked.I'm honored by the invitation, but the record shows that I'm not the first governor of New York State to appear at an event involving Notre Dame. One of my great predecessors, Al Smith, went to the Army-Notre Dame football game each time it was played in New York. His fellow Catholics expected Smith to sit with Notre Dame; protocol required him to sit with Army because it was the home team. Protocol prevailed. But not without Smith noting the dual demands on his affections: "I’ll take my seat with Army," he said, "but I commend my soul to Notre Dame!"Today, frankly, I'm happy I have no such problem: Both my seat and my soul are with Notre Dame. And as long as Father McBrien or Father Hesburgh doesn't invite me back to sit with him at the Notre Dame-St. John’s basketball game, I'm confident my loyalties will remain undivided. And in a sense, it’s a question of loyalty that Father McBrien has asked me here today to discuss. Specifically, must politics and religion in America divide our loyalties? Does the "separation between church and state" imply separation between religion and politics? Between morality and government? And are these different propositions? Even more specifically, what is the relationship of my Catholicism to my politics? Where does the one end and the other begin? Or are they divided at all? And if they're not, should they be?These are hard questions. No wonder most of us in pubic life -- at least until recently -- preferred to stay away from them, heeding the biblical advice that if "hounded and pursued in one city," we should flee to another. Now, however, I think that it's too late to flee. The questions are all around us; the answers are coming from every quarter. Some of them have been simplistic; most of them fragmentary; and a few, spoken with a purely political intent, demagogic. There's been confusion and compounding of confusion, a blurring of the issue, entangling it in personalities and election strategies, instead of clarifying it for Catholics, as well as for others.Today, I'd like to try -- just try -- to help correct that. And of course I can offer you no final truths, complete and unchallengeable. But it's possible that this one effort will provoke other efforts -- both in support and contradiction of my position -- that will help all of us to understand our differences and perhaps even discover some basic agreement. In the end, I am absolutely convinced that we will all benefit if suspicion is replaced by discussion, innuendo by dialogue, if the emphasis in our debate turns from a search for talismanic criteria and neat but simplistic answers to an honest, more intelligent attempt at describing the role that religion has in our public affairs, and the limits placed on that role. And if we do it right -- if we're not afraid of the truth even when the truth is complex -- this debate, by clarification, can bring relief to untold numbers of confused, even anguished Catholics, as well as to many others who want only to make our aly great democracy even stronger than it is.I believe the recent discussion in my own state has aly produced some clearer definition. As you may know, in early summer an impression was created in some quarters that official Church spokespeople would ask Catholics to vote for or against specific candidates on the basis of their political position on the abortion issue alone. I was one of those that was given that impression. Thanks to the dialogue that ensued over the summer -- only partially reported by the media -- we learned that the impression was not accurate.Confusion had presented an opportunity for clarification, and we seized it. Now all of us -- all of us are saying one thing, in chorus, reiterating the statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops that they will not take positions for or against specific political candidates, and that their stand -- the stand of the bishops and the cardinals -- on specific issues should not be perceived as an expression of political partisanship.Now, of course the bishops will teach -- they must teach -- more and more vigorously, and more and more extensively. But they have said they will not use the power of their position, and the great respect it receives from all Catholics, to give an imprimatur to individual politicians or parties. Not that they couldn't do it if they wished to -- some religious leaders, as you know, do it. Some are doing it at this very moment. And not that it would be a sin if they did. God does not insist on political neutrality. But because it is the judgment of the bishops, and most of us Catholic laypeople, that it is not wise for prelates and politicians to be too closely tied together.Now, I think that getting this consensus in New York was an extraordinarily useful achievement. And now, with some trepidation, I take up your gracious invitation to continue the dialogue in the hope that it will lead to still further clarification.Let me begin this part of the effort by underscoring the obvious. I do not speak as a theologian; I don't have that competence. I do not speak as a philosopher; to suggest that I could, would be to set a new record for false pride. I don’t presume to speak as a "good" person, except in the ontological sense of that word. My principal credential is that I serve in a position that forces me to wrestle with the problems that you've come here to study and to debate.I am by training a lawyer and by practice a politician. Now, both those professions make me suspect in many quarters, including -- including some of my own coreligionists. Maybe there's no better illustration of the public perception of how politicians unite their faith and their profession than the story they tell in New York about "Fishhooks" McCarthy, a famous Democratic leader. (He actually lived.) "Fish Hooks" McCarthy lived on the Lower East Side. He was right-hand man to Al Smith, the prototypical political person of his time. "Fishhooks," the story goes, was devout. So devout that every morning on his way to Tammany Hall to do his political work, he stopped into St. James Church on Oliver Street in downtown Manhattan, fell on his knees, and whispered every morning the same simple prayer: "O, Lord, give me health and strength. We'll steal the rest.""Fishhooks" notwithstanding, I speak here as a politician; and also as a Catholic, a layperson baptized and raised in the pre-Vatican II Church, educated in Catholic schools, attached to the Church first by birth, then by choice, now by love; an old-fashioned Catholic who sins, regrets, struggles, worries, gets confused, and most of the time feels better after confession. The Catholic Church is my spiritual home. My heart is there, and my hope.But there is, of course, more to being a Catholic than a sense of spiritual and emotional resonance. Catholicism is a religion of the head as well as the heart, and to be a Catholic is to say, "I believe," to the essential core of dogmas that distinguishes our faith. The acceptance of this faith requires a lifelong struggle to understand it more fully and to live it more truly, to translate truth into experience, to practice as well as to believe. That's not easy: applying religious belief to everyday life often presents difficult challenges. And it's always been that way. It certainly is today. The America of the late twentieth century is a consumer society, filled with endless distractions, where faith is more often dismissed than challenged, where the ethnic and other loyalties that once fastened us to our religion seem to be weakening. In addition to all the weaknesses, all the dilemmas, all the temptations that impede every pilgrim's progress, the Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy, a Catholic who is elected to serve Jews and Muslims and atheists and Protestants, as well as Catholics, bears special responsibility. He or she undertakes to help create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom; where everyone who chooses may hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones, sometimes even contradictory to them; where the laws protect people's right to divorce, their right to use birth control devices, and even to choose abortion.In fact, Catholic public officials take an oath to preserve the Constitution that guarantees this freedom. And they do so gladly, not because they love what others do with their freedom, but because they realize that in guaranteeing freedom for all, they guarantee our right to be Catholics: our right to pray, our right to use the sacraments, to refuse birth control devices, to reject abortion, not to divorce and remarry if we believe it to be wrong.The Catholic public official lives the political truth that most Catholics through most of American history have accepted and insisted on: the truth that to assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful. I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to be a Jew, or a Protestant, or a nonbeliever, or anything else you choose. We know that the price of seeking to force our belief on others is that they might someday force their belief on us.Now, this freedom is the fundamental strength of our unique experiment in government. In the complex interplay of forces and considerations that go into the making of our law and policies, its preservation, the preservation of freedom, must be a pervasive and dominant concern.But insistence on freedom is easier to accept as a general proposition than in its applications to specific situations because there are other valid general principles firmly embedded in our Constitution, which, operating at the same time, create interesting and occasionally troubling problems. Thus, the same amendment of the Constitution that forbids the establishment of a state church affirms my legal right to argue that my religious belief would serve well as an article of our universal public morality.I may use the prescribed processes of government -- the legislative and executive and judicial processes -- to convince my fellow citizens, Jews and Protestants and Buddhists and nonbelievers, that what I propose is as beneficial for them as I believe it is for me. But it's not just parochial or narrowly sectarian but fulfills a human desire for order, for peace, for justice, for kindness, for love, for any of the values that most of us agree are desirable even apart from their specific religious base or context.I'm free to argue for a governmental policy for a nuclear freeze not just to avoid sin, but because I think my democracy should regard it as a desirable goal. I can, if I wish, argue that the state should not fund the use of contraceptive devices not because the Pope demands it, but because I think that the whole community -- for the good of the whole community -- should not sever sex from an openness to the creation of life. And surely I can, if I am so inclined, demand some kind of law against abortion, not because my bishops say it is wrong, but because I think that the whole community, regardless of its religious beliefs, should agree on the importance of protecting life -- including life in the womb, which is at the very least potentially human and should not be extinguished casually.Now, no law prevents us from advocating any of these things. I am free to do so. So are the bishops. So is Reverend Falwell. In fact, the Constitution guarantees my right to try. And theirs. And his.But should I? Is it helpful? Is it essential to human dignity? Would it promote harmony and understanding? Or does it divide us so fundamentally that it threatens our ability to function as a pluralistic community? When should I argue to make my religious value your morality? My rule of conduct your limitation? What are the rules and policies that should influence the exercise of this right to argue and to promote?Now, I believe I have a salvific mission as a Catholic. Does that mean I am in conscience required to do everything I can as governor to translate all of my religious values into the laws and regulations of the State of New York or of the ed States? Or be branded a hypocrite if I don’t? As a Catholic, I respect the teaching authority of my bishops. But must I agree with everything in the bishops' pastoral letter on peace and fight to include it in party platforms? And will I have to do the same for the forthcoming pastoral on economics even if I am an unrepentant supply-sider? Must I, having heard the pope once again renew the Church's ban on birth control devices as clearly as it's been done in modern times -- must I as governor veto the funding of contraceptive programs for non-Catholics or dissenting Catholics in my state? I accept the Church's teaching on abortion. Must I insist that you do by denying you Medicaid funding? By a constitutional amendment? And if by a constitutional amendment, which one? Would that be the best way to avoid abortions or to prevent them?Now, these are only some of the questions for Catholics. People with other religious beliefs face similar problems. Let me try some answers.Almost all Americans accept the religious values as a part of our public life. We are a religious people, many of us descended from ancestors who came here expressly to live their religious faith free from coercion or repression. But we are also a people of many religions, with no established church, who hold different beliefs on many matters. Our public morality, then -- the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives -- depends on a consensus view of right and wrong. The values derived from religious belief will not -- and should not -- be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus. So that the fact that values happen to be religious values does not deny them acceptability as part of this consensus. But it does not require their acceptability, either. Think about it: The agnostics who joined the civil rights struggle were not deterred because that crusade's values had been nurtured and sustained in black Christian churches. And those on the political left are not perturbed today by the religious basis of the clergy and laypeople who join them in the protest against the arms race and hunger and exploitation.The arguments start when religious values are used to support positions which would impose on other people restrictions that they find unacceptable. Some people do object to Catholic demands for an end to abortion, seeing it as a violation of the separation of church and state. And some others, while they have no compunction about invoking the authority of Catholic bishops in regard to birth control and abortion, might reject out of hand their teaching on war and peace and social policy.Ultimately, therefore, what this means is that the question whether or not we admit religious values into our public affairs is too broad to yield to a single answer. Yes, we create our public morality through consensus and in this country that consensus reflects to some extent the religious values of a great majority of Americans. But no, all religiously based values don't have an a priori place in our public morality. The community must decide if what is being proposed would be better left to private discretion than public policy, whether it restricts freedoms, and if so to what end, to whose benefit, whether it will produce a good or bad result, whether overall it will help the community or merely divide it.Now, the right answers to these terribly subtle and complex questions can be elusive. Some of the wrong answers, however, are quite clear. For example, there are those who say there is a simple answer to all these questions; they say that by history and by the practice of our people we were intended from the beginning to be -- and should be today -- a Christian country in law. But where would that leave the nonbelievers? And whose Christianity would be law, yours or mine? This "Christian nation" argument should concern -- even frighten -- two groups in this society: non-Christians and thinking Christians. And I believe it does.I think it's aly apparent that a good part of this nation understands -- if only instinctively -- that anything which seems to suggest that God favors a political party or the establishment of a state church is wrong and dangerous. Way down deep the American people are afraid of an entangling relationship between formal religions -- or whole bodies of religious belief -- and government. Apart from the constitutional law and apart from religious doctrine, there's a sense that tells us it's wrong to presume to speak for God or to claim God's sanction of our particular legislation and his rejection of all other positions. Most of us are offended when we see religion being trivialized by its appearance in political throwaway pamphlets. The American people need no course in philosophy or political science or Church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman.To most of us, the manipulative invoking of religion to advance a politician or a party is frightening and divisive. The American public will tolerate religious leaders taking positions for or against candidates, although I think the Catholic bishops are right in avoiding that position. But the American people are leery about large religious organizations, powerful churches, or synagogue groups engaging in such activities -- again, not as a matter of law or doctrine, but because our innate wisdom and our democratic instinct teaches us these things are dangerous for both sides -- dangerous for the religious institution, dangerous for the rest of our society.Now, today there are a number of issues involving life and death that raise questions of public morality. And they are also questions of concern to most religions. Pick up a newspaper -- almost any newspaper -- and you're almost certain to find a bitter controversy over any one of these questions: Baby Jane Doe, the right to die, artificial insemination, embryos in vitro, abortion, birth control -- not to mention nuclear war and the shadow that it throws across all of existence.Now, some of these issues touch the most intimate recesses of our lives, our roles as someone's mother or child or husband; some affect women in a unique way. But they are also public questions, for all of us -- public questions, not just religious one[s]. Put aside what God expects. Assume, if you like, that there is no God. Say that the Supreme Court has taken God entirely out of our civics. Then the greatest thing still left to us, the greatest value available to us, would be life -- life itself. Even a radically secular world must struggle with the questions of when life begins, under what circumstances it can be ended, when it must be protected, by what authority; it, too, must decide what protection to extend to the helpless and the dying, to the aged and the unborn, to life in all of its phases.Now, as a Catholic, I have accepted certain answers as the right ones for myself and for my family, and because I have, they have influenced me in special ways, as Matilda’s husband, as a father of five children, as a son who stood next to his own father's deathbed trying to decide if the tubes and the needles no longer served a purpose. As a governor, however, I am involved in defining policies that determine other people's rights in these same areas of life and death. Abortion is one of these issues, and while it is only one issue among many, it is one of the most controversial and affects me in a special way as a Catholic public official. So let me spend a little time considering it.I should start, I believe, by noting that the Catholic Church's actions with respect to the interplay of religious values and public policy make clear that there is no inflexible moral principle which determines what our political conduct should be. Think about it. On divorce and birth control, without changing its moral teaching, the Church abides the civil law as it now stands, thereby accepting -- without making much of a point of it -- that in our pluralistic society we are not required to insist that all our religious values be the law of the land. The bishops are not demanding a constitutional amendment for birth control or on adultery. 200806/41142THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, Americans will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. I look forward to spending this Independence Day in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with the men and women of the West Virginia Air National Guard. On the Fourth of July we celebrate the courage and convictions of America's founders. We remember the spirit of liberty that led men from 13 different colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen the Declaration of Independence. In that revolutionary document, they proclaimed our independence based on the belief that freedom was God's gift to all mankind. To defend that freedom, the 56 signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacrifices built a new Nation and created a future of freedom for millions yet to be born. Today, a new generation of Americans has stepped forward and volunteered to defend the ideals of our Nation's founding. Around the world, our brave men and women in uniform are facing danger to protect their fellow citizens from harm. In Afghanistan, our military and NATO forces are hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda, and helping the Afghan people defend their young democracy. And in Iraq, American and Iraqi forces are standing with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and opposing ruthless enemies who want to bring down Iraq's democracy and turn that nation into a terrorist safe haven. This week I traveled to the Naval War College in Rhode Island to give an update on the strategy we're pursuing in Iraq. This strategy is being led by a new commander, General David Petraeus, and a new Ambassador, Ryan Crocker. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help the Iraqi government and its security forces protect their population -- especially in Baghdad. And its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconciliation and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law and is an ally in the war on terror. So America has sent reinforcements to help the Iraqis secure their population, go after the terrorists, insurgents and militias that are inciting sectarian violence, and get the capital under control. The last of these reinforcements arrived in Iraq earlier this month, and the full surge has begun. One of our top commanders in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, put it this way, "We are beyond a surge of forces. We're now into a surge of operations." Recently, we launched Operation Phantom Thunder, which has taken the fight to the enemy in Baghdad, as well as the surrounding regions. We're still at the beginning of this offensive, but we're seeing some hopeful signs. We're engaging the enemy, and killing or capturing hundreds. Just this week, our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad. Within Baghdad, our military reports that despite an upward trend in May, sectarian murders in the capital are significantly down from what they were in January. We're also finding arms caches at more than three times the rate of a year ago. The enemy continues to carry out sensational attacks, but the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has been down in May and June. And because of our new strategy, U.S. and Iraqi forces are living among the people they secure, with the result that many Iraqis are now coming forward with information on where the terrorists are hiding. The fight in Iraq has been tough, and it will remain difficult. We've lost good men and women in this fight. One of those lost was a Marine Lance Corporal named Luke Yepsen. In the spring of 2005, Luke withdrew from his classes at Texas Aamp;M to join the ed States Marines. And in October 2006, he deployed to Iraq, where he manned a 50-caliber machine gun on a Humvee. Six months ago, Luke was killed by a sniper while on patrol in Anbar province. Luke's father describes his son's sacrifice this way: "Luke died bringing freedom to an oppressed people. My urgent request is ... finish the mission. Bring freedom to the Iraqi people." On this Fourth of July, we remember Luke Yepsen and all the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in this struggle. They've helped bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They've helped make Americans more secure. We will not forget their sacrifice. We remember their loved ones in our prayers. And we give thanks for all those from every generation who have defended our Nation and our freedoms. Laura and I wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July. Thank you for listening. 200801/23798GV;Utn4PBf+WU6g[EI-|DEKtFGECI2k2N#YHlxWe all know the past few years have been difficult for this country. After the worst recession of our lifetimes,it will take longer than any of us would like for the economy to fully recover. But there are plenty of steps we can take to speed up the recovery. There are things we can do – right now – to help create jobs and restore some of the financial security that so many families have lost.Now, the other side isn’t so optimistic. They think all we can do is cut taxes – especially for the wealthiest Americans – and go back to letting banks and corporations write their own rules again. That’s their plan.But I think they’re wrong. We tried their ideas for nearly a decade, and it didn’t work out so well. We can’t go back to the same policies that got us into this mess. We’ve got to move forward. We need to build an economy where hard work and responsibility are rewarded – where you can find a good job, own your own home, maybe start a businesses, and give your kids the chance to do even better.That’s where we need to go. And I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would make a difference. Democrats and Republicans have aly done some important work together – from passing tax cuts for workers, to opening up new markets for American products, to reforming our patent system. But now we need to do more.That’s why we made Congress a handy “To-Do” list – just like the kind I get from Michelle. It’s short, but each of the ideas on this list will help create jobs and build a stronger economy right now.First, Congress should stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that bring jobs back to America.Second, Congress should help the millions of Americans who have worked hard and made their mortgage payments on time refinance their mortgages at lower rates and save at least ,000 a year.Third, Congress should help small business owners by giving them a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages. Small businesses are the engine of economic growth in this country. We shouldn’t be holding them back – we should be making it easier for them to succeed.Fourth, if Congress fails to act soon, clean energy companies will see their taxes go up and could be forced to lay off employees. These companies are putting Americans to work and helping break our dependence on foreign oil. Congress should extend these tax credits.And finally, Congress should help our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by creating a Veterans Job Corps. Our men and women in uniform have served this country with honor. Now it’s our turn to serve them.So that’s Congress’s “To-Do” List. But now we need them to start crossing things off. I need you to call your Members of Congress, write an email, tweet, and let them know we can’t afford to wait any longer to get things done. Tell them now is the time to take steps we know will grow our economy and create jobs.You’re working harder. You’re meeting your responsibilities. Your representatives in Washington should do the same. Let’s push Congress to do the right thing. Let’s keep moving this country forward together.Thanks, and have a great weekend.x0p#DDI79rB%Ne#|r(lRTz^(i|^Z_NF(+.j5my!i66J(JJfgj-WaHEc%I3Kt_201205/181902

Download mp4 (129MB) | mp3 (3MB)Today, America faces a make-or-break moment for the middle class.After the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, some still want to return to the same policies that got us into this mess. Theyrsquo;re the same policies that have stacked the deck against working Americans for too long. Theyrsquo;re part of a philosophy that says wersquo;re better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.But I have a different vision. I believe that we are greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone engages in fair play.To ensure fair play, last year, we passed the toughest financial reform in generations.See, for too long, the rules werenrsquo;t the same on Wall Street as they were on Main Street. Risky bets were made with other peoplersquo;s money. Some folks made a lot of money taking advantage of consumers. It was wrong. And this irresponsible behavior on the part of some contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.So this financial reform refocuses the financial sector on whatrsquo;s really important: getting capital to entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses, and financing to millions of families who want to buy a house or send their kids to college.A key part of that was putting in place the first-ever consumer watchdog ndash; someone whose job it is to protect American families from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and debt collectors.Tens of millions of Americans use these services. Protecting them from unscrupulous practices is an important job. And thatrsquo;s why I nominated Richard Cordray to serve as the head of this consumer watchdog agency.As the former Attorney General of Ohio, Richard helped recover billions of dollars on behalf of retirees and stood up to dishonest lending practices. He has the support of most Attorneys General across the country, both Democrats and Republicans. Members of Congress from both parties say hersquo;s more than qualified for the job. And yet on Thursday, Republicans blocked his nomination. They refused to even allow it to come up for a vote.That doesnrsquo;t make any sense. Do Republicans in Congress think our financial crisis was caused by too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors? Of course not. And every day America has to wait for a new consumer protection watchdog is another day that dishonest businesses can target and take advantage of students, seniors, and service members.So I refuse to take ;no; for an answer. Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them. Itrsquo;s time consumers had someone on their side.And while theyrsquo;re at it, Republicans in Congress should stop the games and extend the payroll tax cut for working Americans. Because if they donrsquo;t, nearly 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up at the end of this month. Congress canrsquo;t end the year by taking money out of the pockets of working Americans. Now is not the time for playing politics. Now is the time to do whatrsquo;s right for the American people.No one should go home for the holidays until we get this done. So tell your Members of Congress, donrsquo;t be a Grinch. Tell them to do the right thing for you and for our economy. Thank you.164073

Having just emerged from a Cabinet meeting focused on getting every agency doing all they can to help America create jobs, the President zeroed in on two major fights for the middle class.The first was the long-overdue breaking of the Republican blockade against help for small business -- for which he thanked the two Republican Senators who stepped up and abandoned their party's parliamentary gimmicks. The second was the ongoing attempt by Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage to additional, excessive tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans.And while I am grateful for this progress, it should not have taken this long to pass this bill. At a time when small business owners are still struggling to make payroll and they’re still holding off hiring, we put together a plan that would give them some tax relief and make it easier for them to take out loans. It’s a bill that’s paid for. It won’t add a dime to the deficit. It’s a bill that was written by both Democrats and Republicans. Download Video: mp4 (50MB) | mp3 (5MB)201009/114469

THE PRESIDENT: Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your President. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence — a time set apart. Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey that we have traveled together, and the future of our nation.Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose history reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-Elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.Tonight I am filled with gratitude — to Vice President Cheney and members of my administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime. And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. I thank you for the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity, and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years.This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house — September the 11th, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon, and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son’s police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed. Our nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them. Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the ed States.There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil night and day to keep us safe — law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the ed States Armed Forces.Our nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. And America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander-in-Chief.The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God, and that liberty and justice light the path to peace.This is the belief that gave birth to our nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. We’re standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to dying patients — to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.For eight years, we’ve also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home. Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes. The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. America’s air and water and lands are measurably cleaner. And the federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America’s free enterprise system.Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I’ve always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course.While our nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient, and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard.At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.As we address these challenges — and others we cannot foresee tonight — America must maintain our moral clarity. I’ve often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two of them there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense — and to advance the cause of peace.President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a nation where citizens show calm in times of danger, and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.We see America’s character in Dr. Tony Recasner, a principal who opened a new charter school from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. We see it in Julio Medina, a former inmate who leads a faith-based program to help prisoners returning to society. We’ve seen it in Staff Sergeant Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines.We see America’s character in Bill Krissoff — a surgeon from California. His son, Nathan — a Marine — gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news: He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son. This good man was 60 years old — 18 years above the age limit. But his petition for a waiver was granted, and for the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine. Lieutenant Commander Krissoff could not be here tonight, because he will soon deploy to Iraq, where he will help save America’s wounded warriors — and uphold the legacy of his fallen son.In citizens like these, we see the best of our country - resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there’s more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great nation will never tire, never falter, and never fail.It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other - citizen of the ed States of America.And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country. Thank you. (Applause.)02/61613

We were in the midst of shock but we acted. We acted quickly, boldly, decisively.我们曾处于恐惧之中——但是我们采取了行动。我们迅速、大胆、果断地采取了行动。These later years have been living years—fruitful years for the people of this democracy.后来的这若干年一直是生气勃勃的年代——是这个民主国家的人民获得丰收的年代。For they have brought to us greater security and, I hope, a better understanding that lifes ideals are to be measured in other than material things.因为这些年给我们带来了更大的安全,而且我希望,也带来了更好的认识、即生活的理想是用物质以外的东西来衡量的。Most vital to our present and our future is this experience of a democracy which successfully survived crisis at home;对我们的现在和未来而言,一个民主国家的这段经历是最重要的:它成功地度过了国内危机;put away many evil things; built new structures on enduring lines; and, through it all, maintained the fact of its democracy.它抛弃了许多邪恶的东西;它根据持久的路线建立了新的结构;而通过所有这些,它坚持了民主的实际。For action has been taken within the three way framework of the Constitution of the ed States.这是因为,我们是在合众国宪法规定的三权分立的范围内采取行动的。The coordinate branches of the Government continue freely to function. The Bill of Rights remains inviolate.与政府并列的各个部门继续在自由地履行职能。权利法案依然不可侵犯。The freedom of elections is wholly maintained. Prophets of the downfall of American democracy have seen their dire predictions come to naught.选举自由完全得到了坚持。预言美国民主制度即将崩演的人已经发现,他们耸人听闻的预测变成了泡影。Democracy is not dying. We know it because we have seen it revive—and grow.民主不是在死亡。我们了解这一点,因为我们已经目睹它复苏过来——而且成长起来。We know it cannot die—because it is built on the unhampered initiative of individual men and women joined together in a common enterprise我们知道它不会死亡——因为它是建立在男男女女的不受压抑的主动精神上的,他们携手并肩地投入了一项共同的事业an enterprise undertaken and carried through by the free expression of a free majority.一项由享有自由的多数人通过自由表达来承担和完成的事业。We know it because democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of mens enlightened will.我们知道民主不会死亡,因为在各种形式的政体中,唯独民主政体能充分发挥人类进步意志的力量。We know it because democracy alone has constructed an unlimited civilization capable of infinite progress in the improvement of human life.我们知道民主不会死亡,因为唯独民主制确立了没有任何约束的文明,它能在改善人类生活方面取得永无止境的进步。02/439525

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