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        #216: The Election of 1968

        作者:Jerilyn Watson 發布日期:9-15-2013

        In this 1968 black-and-white file photo, President Lyndon Johnson, right, confers with President-elect Richard Nixon in the White House in Washington
        In this 1968 black-and-white file photo, President Lyndon Johnson, right, confers with President-elect Richard Nixon in the White House in Washington

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

        Nineteen sixty-eight was a presidential election year in the United States. It was also one of the saddest and most difficult years in modern American history. The nation was divided by often violent disputes about civil rights and the war in Vietnam.

        President Lyndon Johnson had helped win major civil rights legislation. Yet he had also greatly expanded American involvement in the war in Vietnam. By early nineteen sixty-eight, it was almost impossible for him to leave the White House without facing anti-war protesters. Johnson wanted to seek another four-year term as president. But his popularity kept dropping as the war continued. He understood that he no longer had the support of a majority of the people. In March, he announced that he would not be a candidate.

        PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: "I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President."

        One reason Johnson decided not to seek re-election was a senator from Minnesota: Eugene McCarthy.

        SENATOR EUGENE MCCARTHY: "I intend to enter the Democratic primaries in four states: Wisconsin, Oregon, California, and Nebraska. The decision with reference to Massachusetts and also New Hampshire will be made within the next two or three weeks."

        McCarthy competed against Johnson in several primary elections. Primaries are held before the political parties hold their presidential nominating conventions.

        Thousands of college students helped the McCarthy campaign in New Hampshire, the state that traditionally holds the nation's first primary. They told voters that their candidate would try to end the war.

        SENATOR EUGENE MCCARTHY: "My decision to challenge the President's position and the administration's position has been strengthened by recent announcements out of the administration. The evident intention to escalate and to intensify the war in Vietnam, and on the other hand, the absence of any positive indication or suggestion for a compromise or for a negotiated political settlement."

        Johnson won the New Hampshire primary, but McCarthy received almost forty-two percent of the vote.

        After McCarthy's success, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York decided to enter the campaign. He was a brother of President John Kennedy, who had been murdered in nineteen sixty-three. Robert Kennedy had served in his brother's administration as attorney general, the nation's highest law enforcement officer.

        The Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, attracted crowds of young blacks during a tour down Detroit's Twelfth Street, May 15, 1968
        The Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, attracted crowds of young blacks during a tour down Detroit's Twelfth Street, May 15, 1968

        Many people were pleased when Robert Kennedy announced his decision. They liked his message. He said: "I run to seek new policies -- policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old, in this country and around the rest of the world."

        (MUSIC)

        On April fourth, nineteen sixty-eight, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee. Robert Kennedy informed a largely black audience in Indianapolis, Indiana, of King's death and appealed for calm.

        ROBERT KENNEDY: "What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom. And compassion toward one another. And a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black." [Crowd applause]

        (MUSIC)

        No words, however, could calm the anger in many black communities. Martin Luther King had peacefully led the civil rights movement. His assassination led to violence in more than one hundred cities across America. Hundreds of people were killed or injured. National Guard troops were used to help police end the riots.

        After the riots, another candidate decided to join the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The new candidate was Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

        (MUSIC)

        The primary season continued. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy tried to show voters how different they were. Many voters, however, saw little difference between their positions on major issues. Both men opposed the war in Vietnam. Both supported social reforms and civil rights.

        Kennedy defeated McCarthy in the primaries in Indiana and Nebraska. McCarthy defeated Kennedy in Oregon.

        The next big primary was in California. Kennedy said he would withdraw from the campaign if he did not win the primary in that important state.

        Robert Kennedy won the California primary.

        SENATOR ROBERT KENNEDY: "My thanks to all of you. And now, it's on to Chicago and let's win there." [Cheering]

        He might have gone on to win his party's nomination for president. And perhaps he might have even won the presidency, just like his brother John.

        But Americans would never know.

        [Gun-shot from Mutual Broadcasting System coverage of Kennedy shooting]

        MUTUAL REPORTER ANDREW WEST [Reporting Live]: "Senator Kennedy has been shot. Is that possible? Senator Kennedy has been shot, possibly shot in the head. [Crowd commotion] I am right here, and Rafer Johnson has a hold of a man who apparently has fired the shot. He still has the gun. The gun is pointed at me..."

        Robert Kennedy was shot at the Los Angeles hotel where he had just given his victory speech after the California primary. He died a few hours later. The man who shot him worked at the hotel. Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian refugee. He said he blamed Robert Kennedy for the problems of the Palestinians.

        (MUSIC)

        America's two major political parties held their nominating conventions in the summer of nineteen sixty-eight. The Republicans met first. They gathered in Miami Beach, Florida. And it was soon clear which candidate had the most support.

        Richard Nixon had been the Republican nominee in nineteen sixty. He lost to John Kennedy. Eight years later, Nixon was a strong candidate to win the nomination again. The other candidates were Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, and Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York.

        A huge banner reading "Nixon's the one" is stretched across Chestnut Street in Philadelphia in September, 1968, during the reception for the Republican presidential candidate. Pat Nixon rode in the car with her husband
        A huge banner reading "Nixon's the one" is stretched across Chestnut Street in Philadelphia in September, 1968, during the reception for the Republican presidential candidate. Pat Nixon rode in the car with her husband

        On the first ballot, Nixon received more than twice as many votes as Rockefeller. Reagan was far behind. Most of the delegates then gave their support to Nixon, and he accepted the nomination.

        Spiro Agnew, the governor of Maryland, became the nominee for vice president.

        The Democratic convention was very different from the Republican one. The Democrats were the party in power. Protests against the war in Vietnam were aimed at them.

        SOUND: Chicago crowds chanting "Peace Now"

        Thousands of anti-war protesters gathered in Chicago where the Democratic convention took place.

        SOUND: More crowd noise + MUSIC

        The city's mayor, Richard Daley, ordered the police to deal with them severely. Many of the young protesters were beaten.

        The Federal Government later ordered an investigation. The report said the riots in Chicago were a result of the actions of the police themselves.

        Inside the convention building, the delegates voted for their nominee. They did not choose the candidate who had done so well in the early primaries, Eugene McCarthy. Instead, they chose the more traditional candidate, Hubert Humphrey.

        VICE PRESIDENT HUBERT HUMPHREY: "Surely, we have now learned the lesson that violence breeds counter-violence, and it cannot be condoned, whatever the source."

        The vice presidential candidate was Edmund Muskie, a senator from Maine.

        In the general election campaign, Nixon and Humphrey both supported American involvement in Vietnam. But both of them also talked about finding ways to end the conflict. And they talked about finding ways to end the social unrest in the United States.

        Many voters saw little difference between the two candidates.

        A third candidate in the race was the governor of Alabama, George Wallace. As governor, Wallace opposed federal efforts to end racial separation in the South. He attempted to block the court-ordered registration of two black students at the University of Alabama in nineteen sixty-three. At that time, the university accepted only white students. The two were later admitted under federal protection.

        Wallace campaigned as the candidate of the American Independent Party. He denounced the federal courts as well as communism and what he called the "eastern establishment" in the United States. Many conservative, working-class Americans agreed with him and supported his campaign.

        About six weeks before Election Day, public opinion surveys showed that Nixon and Humphrey were very close. Nixon's major problem was his past. He had made enemies during his early political life. Humphrey's major problem was his current job as vice president to an increasingly unpopular president.

        About a month before the election, Humphrey said the United States would halt bombing in North Vietnam. But President Johnson did not give the order until four days before the election. Humphrey later said the delay had damaged his campaign beyond repair.

        On Election Day, Richard Nixon won, but not by much in the popular vote. George Wallace won five states and finished a distant third.

        Nixon would become president. It was a job he had wanted for a long time.

        RICHARD NIXON: "I saw many signs in this campaign; some of them were not friendly, some were very friendly. But the one that touched me the most was one that I saw in Deshler, Ohio, at the end of a long day of whistle-stopping. A teenager held up a sign, 'Bring us together'. And that will be the great objective of this administration at the outset, to bring the American people together."

        (MUSIC)

        And it was a presidency that would change America and the world for years to come. The Nixon presidency will be our story next week.

        (MUSIC)

        You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This was program #216.

        1968年是總統大選年,而這一年也是美國現代史上最艱難的歲月之一。民權運動引起的暴力分歧和曠日持久的越南戰爭,讓整個國家陷入分歧。當時的總統林登.約翰遜在促成民權立法方面起了重要的作用,但他同時也顯著擴大了美國在越戰中的參與程度。到1968年初的時候,他幾乎每次離開白宮,都會遇到抗議示威的反戰者。

        約翰遜總統原本希望競選連任,但隨著越戰戰事的擴大,他的民眾支持率也不斷下滑。他清楚地看到,自己已經失去了大多數人的支持,所以3月份的時候,約翰遜宣布,不會參選連任。他說:"我不會尋求參選連任,也不接受我所在政黨的提名。"

        約翰遜決定不參選的主要原因跟一名來自明尼蘇達州的參議員有關,他的名字叫尤金.麥卡錫。麥卡錫說:"我將參加四個州的民主黨初選,它們分別是威斯康辛、俄勒岡、加利福尼亞和內布拉斯加。我將在今后兩到三個星期內宣布是否參加麻薩諸塞州和新罕布什爾州的初選。"

        麥卡錫在幾個州的初選中與約翰遜對決。這些初選是政黨總統提名的風向標。數以千計的大學生在新罕布什爾州為麥卡錫助選,傳統上,新罕布什爾州是美國第一個舉行初選的州。這些大學生告訴選民們,麥卡錫將努力從越戰中抽身。麥卡錫說:"政府最新宣布的政策,更堅定了我挑戰約翰遜總統和美國政府立場的決心。一方面,政府明顯傾向于擴大和加深越戰,另一方面,我們完全看不到任何通過協商、或是談判政治解決分歧的意愿。"

        約翰遜贏得了新罕布什爾州的初選,但是麥卡錫贏得了將近42%的選票。麥卡錫作出出色表現后,來自紐約州的參議員羅伯特.肯尼迪也決定參加競選。他是1963年被暗殺的喬治.肯尼迪總統的弟弟。羅伯特.肯尼迪曾在肯尼迪政府中擔任司法部長。

        很多美國人歡迎羅伯特.肯尼迪參選,他們支持他的競選聲明。羅伯特說:"我將謀求新政策,結束越南和我們城市里的流血,鏟除美國、乃至世界各地普遍存在的黑人與白人,窮人與富人,青年人和老年人之間的鴻溝。"

        1968年4月4日,美國民權運動領袖馬丁.路德.金在田納西的孟菲斯遇刺身亡。羅伯特.肯尼迪在印地安那州的印第安納波利斯對一批黑人聽眾講話,談到馬丁.路德.金的死,并呼吁大家保持冷靜。

        羅伯特.肯尼迪說:"美國需要的不是分裂,美國需要的不是仇恨。美國需要的不是暴力和混亂。美國需要的是愛和智慧,是相互同情,是為那些陷于困境的人尋求公正,不管他們是黑人還是白人。"

        然而,任何語言都無法平息黑人社區的憤怒。馬丁.路德.金生前通過和平手段推動民權運動,但是他的暗殺卻使美國100多個城市出現了暴力。數百人被殺或受傷。政府動用國民警衛隊協助鎮壓暴亂。暴亂過后,又有一位候選人加入了民主黨總統候選人提名的競爭,他就是當時的副總統休伯特.漢弗萊。

        初選繼續展開。麥卡錫和羅伯特.肯尼迪試圖讓選民了解他們的不同。然而,很多選民覺得這兩個候選人在主要議題上的立場大同小異。兩人都反對越戰,都支持社會改革和民權運動??夏岬显谟〉匕布{和內布拉斯加州的初選中獲勝,而麥卡錫在俄勒岡州擊敗了肯尼迪。

        初選的下一個重要戰場是加利福尼亞州??夏岬险f,如果他在加州失利,就將退出選舉。結果,肯尼迪贏得了加州初選??夏岬险f:"感謝大家。讓我們把目光轉向芝加哥,讓我們贏得芝加哥。"

        羅伯特.肯尼迪原本有可能贏得黨內提名,原本有可能像他哥哥一樣當上總統。但是沒有人能確切地知道,因為羅伯特.肯尼迪在洛杉磯遭到了槍殺。

        當時播出的一段新聞說:"肯尼迪參議員中彈了。這是真的嗎?肯尼迪參議員中彈了,可能是被擊中頭部。我現在就在事發現場,拉菲爾.約翰遜抓住了開槍的男子,他仍然拿著槍,槍正指著我......"

        羅伯特.肯尼迪在洛杉磯的一個旅館里遭到槍擊,當時他剛剛做完贏得加州初選的勝選感言。25小時后,羅伯特.肯尼迪被宣布死亡。襲擊他的槍手是一名巴勒斯坦難民,此人反對肯尼迪支持以色列的立場。盡管如此,大選還要繼續。民主、共和兩黨1968年夏天各自舉行總統候選人提名的全國代表大會。

        共和黨代表大會首先在佛羅里達州的邁阿密海灘舉行。1960年共和黨總統提名時,理查德.尼克松就曾是人選之一,結果輸給了約翰.肯尼迪。時隔8年,尼克松再次成為有望獲得提名的人選。其他參選人包括加州州長羅納德.里根和紐約州州長納爾遜.洛克菲勒。

        第一輪投票,尼克松獲得的票數是洛克菲勒的兩倍,里根遠遠落在兩人后面。此后,絕大多數代表都支持尼克松,而他也接受了總統提名。馬里蘭州長斯皮羅.阿格紐贏得了共和黨的副總統提名。

        相比之下,民主黨提名大會混亂得多。民主黨是執政黨,是反戰示威者批評的對象。數以千計的反戰者聚集在民主黨全國代表大會舉辦地─芝加哥。芝加哥市長理查德.戴利下令警察嚴懲示威者。很多示威的年輕人被毆打。聯邦政府后來下令調查。調查報告說,芝加哥的暴亂是警方自身行為所造成的。

        同時,在會議大樓里,代表們投票推舉民主黨總統候選人。他們沒有選擇在初選中成績卓越的麥肯錫,而是選擇了更加傳統的候選人休伯特.漢弗萊。漢弗萊說:"我們現在明白,暴力只會帶來更多的暴力,不管原因是什么,暴力都不能被寬恕。"

        民主黨副總統候選人是緬因州參議員埃德蒙.馬斯基。在總統大選中,尼克松和漢弗萊都支持美國參與越戰,但是兩人也都談到了尋找途徑結束越戰,談到要尋找方式來結束美國的社會動蕩。很多選民看不到這兩個人在政策方面有什么不同。

        總統大選角逐中的另一名候選人是阿拉巴馬州州長喬治.華萊士。擔任州長時,華萊士反對聯邦政府在南部結束種族隔離的舉措。1963年,他曾不顧法院裁決,試圖阻止兩名黑人學生在阿拉巴馬大學登記注冊。那時候,這所大學只招收白人學生。這兩個黑人學生后來是在聯邦警察的保護下入學的。

        華萊士做為美國獨立黨候選人參選。他譴責聯邦法院、譴責共產主義,譴責他所謂的在美國的"東方陣營"。美國很多保守派和工薪階層都支持他的觀點。大選6周前的民調顯示,尼克松和漢弗萊不相上下。尼克松的主要問題是他的過去,他在政治生涯早期樹敵太多。而漢弗萊的主要障礙是,做為副總統,約翰遜總統不受歡迎讓他受了牽連。

        大選一個月前,漢弗萊說,美國將停止對北越的轟炸,但是直到大選前四天,約翰遜總統才最終下達命令。漢弗萊說,這對他的選戰造成了不可挽回的損害。競選日當天,尼克松以微弱優勢獲勝。華萊士贏了五個州,位居第三。尼克松終于當選總統,這是他夢寐以求的。

        尼克松說:"在競選中我看到很多跡象,有些不太友好,有些十分友好。但是最觸動我的還是在俄亥俄州的德什勒,經過一天的漫長競選后,我看到一名年輕人舉著個牌子,上面寫著"凝聚我們"。這就是我們新政府的目標,我們要努力把美國人民重新凝聚起來。"這次大選改變了美國和世界。

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