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        #217: Nixon's the One

        作者:Jerilyn Watson 發布日期:9-16-2013

        President Richard M. Nixon at his desk in the White House a few weeks after his inauguration in 1969
        President Richard M. Nixon at his desk in the White House a few weeks after his inauguration in 1969

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

        This week in our series, we begin the story of America's thirty-seventh president.

        RICHARD NIXON: "I, Richard Milhous Nixon, do solemnly swear..."

        CHIEF JUSTICE EARL WARREN: "That you will faithfully execute the office..."

        NIXON: "That I will faithfully execute the office..."

        WARREN: "Of President of the United States."

        NIXON: "Of President of the United States..."

        Richard Nixon was sworn into office on January twentieth, nineteen sixty-nine.

        (MUSIC)

        Nixon began his presidency at a difficult time.

        (Viet Nam War battle sounds)

        American forces, allied with the Army of South Vietnam, were continuing to fight against the communist forces of North Vietnam. Thousands of soldiers and civilians were dying. The Americans and South Vietnamese were making little progress, and there were anti-war demonstrations in the United States.

        Anti-War Protesters chanting: "Hell No, We Won't Go!"

        Demonstrators outside Chicago's Blackstone Hotel, February 5, 1970, to protest the visit of President Richard Nixon
        Demonstrators outside Chicago's Blackstone Hotel, February 5, 1970, to protest the visit of President Richard Nixon

        There were also demonstrations against racial injustice. The issues that divided the nation also divided families and friends.

        At the same time, fighting the war meant there was less government money available to fight social problems.

        The last president, Lyndon Johnson, had proposed new legislation to help poor people and minorities. In some cases, Congress approved less money than he had requested. In other cases, lawmakers did not approve any money at all.

        The new president seemed well prepared to deal with the difficulties of being president. He was known for his ability to fight, to lose, and to keep trying.

        (MUSIC)

        Richard Nixon was born in California. His family was poor. When he was about ten years old, he harvested vegetables to help earn money for his family. He earned the money that he needed to go to college. Then he decided to study law. He was among the top students in his class.

        During World War Two, Nixon served in the Navy in the Pacific. When he came home, he ran for a seat in Congress and won.

        As a member of the House of Representatives, Nixon became known for his part in the Alger Hiss case.

        RICHARD NIXON: ?"I am holding in my hand a microfilm of very highly confidential secret State Department documents. These documents were fed out of the State Department, over ten years ago, by communists who were employees of that department and who were interested in seeing if these documents were sent to the Soviet Union, where the interests of the Soviet Union happened to be in conflict with those of the United States."

        (MUSIC)

        Alger Hiss was a former official in the State Department. He had been accused of lying about helping provide secret information to the Soviet Union. He denied the accusations.

        Nixon demanded a congressional investigation. Other members of the House thought the issue should be dropped. But Nixon succeeded and led the investigation.

        Alger Hiss, shown in this August 25, 1948 photo testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington
        Alger Hiss, shown in this August 25, 1948 photo testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington

        While never convicted of espionage, Hiss was tried and found guilty of lying to a grand jury that investigated the case. He was sentenced to prison.

        Some Americans disliked Richard Nixon for the way he treated people during the investigation. They felt that some of his attacks were unfair. At that time, fear of communism was very strong. Critics thought he was using the situation for his own gain, to improve his political future.

        In nineteen fifty, Richard Nixon ran for the Senate. Nixon, a Republican, competed against Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former actress and three-time California Congresswoman.

        During the often bitter campaign he accused her of not recognizing the threat of communism in America.

        He also said that she was "pink, right down to her underwear," a reference to her being sympathetic to communism.

        In response, Congresswoman Douglas gave Nixon a nickname he would never completely lose, "Tricky Dick."

        Nixon won the election.

        (MUSIC)

        Two years later, in nineteen fifty-two, the Republican Party chose him as its candidate for vice president. The candidate for president was Dwight Eisenhower.

        Eisenhower and Nixon easily defeated the Democratic Party candidates, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson and Alabama Senator John Sparkman.

        They won again in nineteen fifty-six.

        During his eight years as vice president, Nixon visited sixty countries. He faced violent protests during a visit to South America in nineteen fifty-eight. The following year, he visited the Soviet Union. He and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had what became known as the "kitchen debate." It took place in Moscow as they visited a model of a kitchen that might be found in an American house.

        RUSSIAN PREMIER NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV: [Speaking in Russian]

        The debate was about world peace. Nixon at one point told Khrushchev that he did not know everything. But there were light moments as well.

        SOUND: [Spirited and playful interchanges between Khrushchev and his interpreter, Nixon's interpreter, and Nixon, ending with...]

        NIXON: "All that I can say from the way you talk, and the way you dominate the conversation, you would have made a good lawyer yourself."

        In this November 14, 1960 photo, President-elect John F. Kennedy, left, and Vice President Richard Nixon in Miami, Florida
        In this November 14, 1960 photo, President-elect John F. Kennedy, left, and Vice President Richard Nixon in Miami, Florida

        In nineteen sixty, Nixon accepted the Republican nomination for president. He had many years of political experience and had gained recognition as vice president. Many people thought he would win the national election easily. But he lost to the young John Kennedy. It was the closest presidential election since eighteen eighty-four.

        After losing to Kennedy, Nixon moved back to California. Then in nineteen sixty-two he tried to defeat Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown, a Democrat, and lost.

        In conceding defeat, Nixon gave a "final" press conference, in which he told reporters:

        NIXON: "For sixteen years, ever since the Hiss case, you've had a lot of fun. You've had an opportunity to attack me, and I think I've given as good as I've taken. I leave you gentlemen now, and you will now write it, you will interpret it, that's your right. But, as I leave you, I want you to know, just think how much you're going to be missing - you don't have Nixon to kick around anymore."

        Nixon's political career seemed to be over. He moved to New York City and worked as a lawyer. But he made it clear that he was not ruling out a return to public life at some point in the future.

        (MUSIC)

        Many Republicans began to see Richard Nixon as the statesman they wanted in the White House. By then, President Johnson had decided not to run for re-election in nineteen sixty-eight. His Democratic Party was divided. The Republicans believed they had a good chance to win the election.

        Nixon campaigned hard against the Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was vice president under Johnson and had to defend the president's unpopular policies on the Vietnam War.

        Some Americans thought the war should be expanded. Many others demanded an immediate withdrawal.

        Both Humphrey and Nixon promised to work for peace in Vietnam.

        (MUSIC)

        On Election Day, voters chose Nixon. He narrowly won the popular vote but collected many more electoral votes than Humphrey.

        On the day after his victory, Richard Nixon spoke to a gathering of supporters. He told them that "the great objective" of his administration, from the start, would be "to bring the American people together."

        (MUSIC)

        Once in office, President Nixon proposed legislation to deal with problems at home. He called his proposals the "New Federalism." One proposal was for revenue sharing. Under his plan, the federal government would share tax money with state and local governments. For three years, Congress objected. Then, in nineteen seventy-two, the revenue sharing plan was finally approved.

        Lawmakers also approved legislation for some of Nixon's other ideas. One changed the way American men were drafted into military service for the war. The new law said young men would now have their names chosen in a lottery system. Many people had criticized the earlier system which they said chose too many poor people and racial minorities. These were the men who were fighting, and dying, in Vietnam.

        Congress also approved a change to the Constitution to decrease the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. Supporters of the amendment said if people were old enough to fight and die in war, then they were old enough to vote. The amendment became law when three-fourths of the states approved it in nineteen seventy-one.

        On another issue, Nixon proposed to build a system to defend against missile attacks. He said it was needed to protect American missile bases. Congress approved the idea in nineteen sixty-nine. Critics said it would only intensify the arms race with the Soviet Union.

        (MUSIC)

        Nixon's first appointments to the nation's highest court also caused much debate. He named two conservative judges from the South, Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell. Lawmakers said Haynsworth had been unfair to blacks in his decisions and that Carswell was not prepared for the job. Congress rejected both nominations to the Supreme Court.

        President Nixon faced these disappointments, and others. But he still had moments to celebrate during his first term. One came on July twentieth, nineteen sixty-nine. On that day, he and millions of people around the world watched as two American astronauts became the first humans to land on the moon.

        AUDIO: Nixon on phone with astronauts on moon

        NIXON: "Hello Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. I just can't tell you how proud we all are. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become part of man's world. And, as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth."

        (MUSIC)

        We continue the story of Richard Nixon next week.

        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 #217.

        尼克松1969年1月20日宣誓就職,當時的美國真正處于一個艱難時期。美國跟南越部隊一起,繼續跟北越的共產武裝作戰,成千上萬的士兵和民眾在戰爭中喪生,美國的反戰抗議示威風起云涌。

        此時,美國國內也出現了反對種族歧視的抗議活動。這些棘手的問題不僅讓整個國家,也讓家庭和朋友之間出現了嚴重的意見分歧。

        打仗要花錢,戰爭的繼續就意味著政府能夠用于解決社會問題的資金減少。上屆總統約翰遜提出了一些幫助窮人和少數族裔的議案,有些議案得到了國會的批準,但是撥款數額低于索取數額,另外一些議案則索性一分錢也沒有拿到。

        新總統尼克松為解決這些難題做好了充分準備。他向來以堅持不懈的斗志而著稱。

        尼克松生于加利福尼亞,家境貧寒,十歲大就去收割蔬菜,貼補家用,他自己供自己上了大學,大學畢業后就讀法學院,成績在班里名列前茅。

        第二次世界大戰期間,尼克松加入海軍,在太平洋服役,服役結束后,參選國會眾議員,進入國會,擔任國會議員期間尼克松,因為主持對前國務院官員希斯的調查而知名。他曾說過下面這段話:"我手里拿著的這張微型膠片,上面有國務院的機密文件,這些機密文件是十多年前由國務院里的共產黨人傳出來的,涉及的都是一些蘇聯跟美國有利益沖突的問題,他們想讓蘇聯得到這些文件"。

        希斯是前美國國務院官員。他被指控向蘇聯透露機密信息,希斯矢口否認。尼克松要求國會就此展開調查,國會其他眾議員覺得應該放手此事,但是尼克松最終勝利了,并親自主持調查。希斯沒有因為間諜罪而受到正式起訴,但是法庭認定,希斯向大陪審團做偽證的罪名成立,將希斯投入監獄。

        尼克松在調查過程中的一些做法,讓一些美國人很反感。他們覺得他發起的攻擊不夠公正。那個時候,對共產主義的恐慌情緒十分強烈。批評人士認為,尼克松是在利用這種情緒,為自己的政治前途賺取資本。

        1950年,尼克松參選國會參議員,對手是加州的民主黨三任議員,以前是演員的海倫.道格拉斯。在激烈競選期間,尼克松指責道格拉斯參議員對美國國內的共產主義威脅置若罔聞。他還說,道格拉斯參議員從里到外都是"粉紅色的,直到她的內褲",暗示她對共產主義持有同情之心。

        道格拉斯參議員反戈一擊,給尼克松起了個外號,叫"tricky dick"狡猾的迪克,結果這個外號一直跟著尼克松。但是最后,尼克松還是勝選了。

        兩年過后的1952年,尼克松被共和黨選中,做為副總統候選人,跟艾森豪威爾一起參選。艾森豪威爾和尼克松輕松擊敗了民主黨候選人伊利諾伊州州長史蒂文森和阿拉巴馬州參議員斯巴克曼。

        艾森豪威爾和尼克松1956年當選連任。尼克松擔任副總統的八年間,先后出訪60個國家。1958年訪問南美洲時遇到暴力抗議示威。1959年,尼克松又出訪蘇聯,跟蘇聯總理赫魯曉夫,展開了后來廣為人知的所謂"廚房辯論"。當時,尼克松在莫斯科參觀一個可能在美國家庭里看到的廚房樣品間。

        辯論核心是世界和平。在辯論中,尼克松一度指責赫魯曉夫什么也不懂,但期間也不乏輕松時刻,尼克松就曾開玩笑說:"我想說,按你說話的方式,從你交談中的咄咄逼人看,你本來會是個好律師。"

        1960年尼克松接受共和黨的總統提名。他從政經驗豐富,擔任副總統期間,也極大增加了知名度。很多人覺得他當選總統易如反掌,沒想到尼克松卻輸給了年輕的約翰.肯尼迪。1960年總統選舉是美國1884年大選以來結果最接近的一次選舉。

        輸給肯尼迪后,尼克松搬回加州,1962年試圖參加州長競選,結果敗給了在任民主黨州長布朗。在承認失敗的"最后"新聞發布會上,尼克松說:"希斯案件以來這16年來,大家挺開心,你們有機會攻擊我,我也全力予以還擊。我現在要跟大家告別,你們現在可以寫,可以詮釋,這是你們的權利,但我希望你們知道,你們一定會特別想念我,因為你們再也沒有尼克松可以肆意批評了。"

        尼克松的政治生涯似乎終結了,他搬到紐約市當律師。但是他也明確表示,不排除日后可能再次進入公眾的視線。

        很多共和黨人覺得尼克松是入主白宮的最佳人選。那時候,約翰遜總統已經決定不參加1968年的大選,民主黨黨內嚴重分裂,共和黨人相信,這是他們奪回白宮的大好時機。

        尼克松積極參選,他的對手是當時的副總統休伯特.漢弗萊。漢弗萊做為副總統,勢必要為約翰遜總統的越戰政策提出辯護。當時,一些美國人認為應該擴大戰事,另外一些美國人則要求立即撤軍。尼克松和漢弗萊都保證要為越南的和平而努力。

        最后,美國人民選擇了尼克松。尼克松的選票沒有贏很多,但是選舉人票大大超過了漢弗萊。勝選當天,尼克松在對支持者發表講話時說,"他這屆政府的首要目的是將美國人民團結在一起。"

        走馬上任后,尼克松總統提出議案,解決國內問題,并將這一系列議案稱為"新聯邦主義"。其中一項提案是分享國庫收入,按照他的計劃,聯邦政府要跟州政府和地方政府分享稅收,這項提案連續三年遭到國會抵制,直到1972年才通過。

        國會議員還通過了尼克松提出的另外一些提案,其中一項涉及美國戰時征兵。很多人批評說,根據以前的系統挑選出來的都是窮人和少數族裔,讓這些人到越南去打仗,去送死,根據新法,美國年輕男子戰時征兵要按照抽彩的方式來進行。

        國會還通過了一項憲法修正案,將法定投票年齡從21歲改為18歲。這項修正案的支持者認為,如果18歲能打戰,能為國捐軀的話,就應該能夠投票。該修正案得到四分之三州的批準,1971年成為法律。

        此外,尼克松還提議修建一個防御導彈襲擊的系統。他認為,這樣做有助于保護美國的導彈基地。國會1969年通過了這項立法,但是批評人士說,這樣做只會加劇美蘇之間的軍備競賽。

        尼克松第一次任命聯邦最高法院大法官也引起了極大爭議。他提名了兩位來自南方的保守派大法官,一個是海恩斯沃思,另一個是卡斯韋爾。國會議員說,海恩斯沃思做出了很多對黑人極不公平的裁決,而卡斯韋爾無法勝任聯邦最高法院大法官一職,這兩個人的提名都遭到了國會的駁回。

        雖然有不盡人意之處,但尼克松第一個任期也有很多值得慶賀的成就,其中一個是1969年7月20號,兩名美國宇航員成功登上月球,開創了人類的歷史先河。尼克松當時打電話向這兩位宇航員表示祝賀。

        他說,"尼爾,布茲,你們好,我從白宮橢圓形辦公室里打電話給你們。我無法表達驕傲的心情。因為你們,天空成了人類世界的一部分。你們從寧靜海傳來的聲音,鼓舞我們加倍努力,讓和平和靜謐遍布地球。"

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