A Faith in Simple Dreams
by Barack Obama
When I was a child, I lived overseas for a time with my mother. And one of my earliest memories is of her reading to me the first lines of the Declaration of Independence, explaining how its ideas applied to every American, black and white and brown alike. She taught me that those words, and the words of the United States Constitution, protected us from the brutal injustices we witnessed other people suffer during those years abroad.
I’ve been reminded of this recently as I’ve followed the brutal injustice surrounding Zimbabwe’s so-called elections. For weeks, the opposition party and its supporters have been silently hunted, tortured and killed. They have been dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and strangled while their children watched. The wife of a newly elected mayor was so badly beaten that her own brother only recognized her by the skirt she wore on the day she was killed. Even voters suspected of disloyalty to the President have been herded together and thrashed for hours, all for the simple crime of casting their ballot.
We are a nation of strong and varied convictions and beliefs. We argue and debate our differences vigorously and often. But when all is said and done, we still come together as one people and pledge our allegiance not just to a place on a map or a certain leader but to the words my mother read to me years ago: "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
That is the true genius of America — a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. It’s the idea that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution; and that our votes will be counted.
For me, it is the love and defense of these ideals that constitutes the true meaning of patriotism. They are ideals that do not belong to any particular party or group of people but call each of us to service and sacrifice for the sake of our common good.
I write this knowing that if previous generations had not taken up this call, I would not be where I am today. As a young man of mixed race, without a firm anchor in any community, without even a father’s steadying hand, this essential American ideal — that our destinies are not written before we are born — has defined my life. And it is the source of my profound love for this country: because with a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, I know that stories like mine could only happen in America.
而且用词是那么的简朴，简直可以放在中国人民的初中英语教材里面做泛读。部分语句甚至让我想起，哈贝马斯在Die Einbeziehung des Anderen（他者的受容，中文说，包容他者）那本书里头疾呼应该以宪法爱国主义（Verfassungspatriotismus）来取代民族主义。