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        2. 英語演講10. Lyndon Baines Johnson - We Shall Overcome



          2008-10-16 22:19

          英語演講10. Lyndon Baines Johnson - We Shall Overcome


          10. Lyndon Baines Johnson - We Shall Overcome

          Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:

          I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. I
          urge every member of
          both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section
          of this country, to
          join me in that cause.

          At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point
          in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So
          it was a century ago at
          Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. There, longsuffering men and
          women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally
          assaulted. One good man, a man of God, was killed.

          There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for selfsatisfaction
          in the long denial of equal
          rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for
          hope and for faith
          in our democracy in what is happening here tonight. For the cries of pain
          and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all
          the majesty of this great government
          the government of the greatest nation on earth. Our
          mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice,
          to serve man.

          In our time we have come to live with
          the moments of great crisis. Our lives have been
          marked with debate about great issues issues
          of war and peace, issues of prosperity and
          depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret
          heart of America itself.
          Rarely are we met with a challenge,
          not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our
          security, but rather to the values, and the purposes, and the meaning of our beloved nation.

          The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue.

          And should we defeat every enemy, and should
          we double our wealth and conquer the stars,
          and still be unequal to
          this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For with
          a country as with a person, "What is a man profited,
          if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

          There is no Negro problem. There is no
          Southern problem. There is no Northern problem.
          There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans not
          Democrats or Republicans. We are met here as
          Americans to solve that problem.

          This was the first nation
          in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great
          phrases of that purpose still sound in every American
          heart, North and South: "All men are
          created equal," "government by consent of the governed," "give me liberty or give me death."
          Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name
          Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand
          there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives.

          Those words are a promise to every citizen that
          he shall share in the dignity of man. This
          dignity cannot be found in a man's possessions. it cannot be found in
          his power, or in
          his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It
          says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide
          for his family according to
          his ability and his merits as a human being.
          To apply any other test
          to deny a man his hopes because of his color, or race, or his religion, or the place of his
          is not only to do injustice, it is to deny America and to dishonor the dead who gave their
          lives for American freedom.

          Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish, it must be
          rooted in democracy. The most basic right of all
          was the right to choose your own leaders. The
          history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all
          of our people. Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about
          this there can and should be no argument.

          Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.

          There is no reason which can excuse the denial
          of that right. There is no duty which weighs
          more heavily on us than
          the duty we have to
          ensure that right.

          Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in
          this country men and women are kept from voting
          simply because they are Negroes. Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been
          used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is
          wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he
          manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not
          spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on
          the application. And if he manages
          to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he
          passes this test. He may be asked to recite the
          entire Constitution, or explain the most
          complex provisions of State law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that
          he can read and write.

          For the fact is that
          the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. Experience has
          clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious
          discrimination. No
          law that we now have on the books and
          I have helped to put three of them there can
          ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. In
          such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution
          says that no person shall be
          kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to
          support and to defend that Constitution. We must
          now act in obedience to that oath.

          Wednesday, I will send to Congress a law
          designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to
          vote. The broad principles of that bill will be in
          the hands of the Democratic and Republican
          leaders tomorrow. After they have reviewed it, it will come here formally as a bill. I am
          grateful for this opportunity to come here tonight at the invitation of the leadership to reason
          my friends, to give them my views, and to
          visit with my former colleagues. I've had
          prepared a more comprehensive analysis of the legislation which
          intended to
          transmit to
          the clerk tomorrow, but which
          I will
          to the clerks tonight. But I want
          to really discuss
          with you
          now, briefly, the main proposals of this legislation.

          This bill will
          strike down
          restrictions to voting in
          elections Federal,
          State, and local which
          have been
          used to
          deny Negroes the right to vote.
          This bill will establish a simple,
          uniform standard which cannot be used, however ingenious the effort, to
          flout our
          Constitution. It will provide for citizens to be registered by officials of the United States
          Government, if the State officials refuse to register them. It will eliminate tedious,
          unnecessary lawsuits which delay the right
          to vote. Finally, this legislation will
          ensure that
          properly registered individuals are not prohibited from voting.

          I will welcome the suggestions from all of the Members of Congress I
          have no doubt that I
          will get some on
          ways and means to strengthen
          this law and to
          make it effective. But
          experience has plainly shown
          this is the only path
          to carry out the command of the

          To those who seek to avoid action by their National Government in their own
          who want
          to and who seek to
          maintain purely local control over elections, the answer is
          simple: open your polling places to all your people.

          Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin.

          Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen
          of this land.

          There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution
          is plain. There is no
          It is wrong deadly
          wrong to
          deny any of your fellow
          Americans the right to
          vote in this country. There is no issue of States' rights or national rights. There is only the
          struggle for human
          rights. I have not
          the slightest doubt what will be your answer.

          the last time a President sent a civil rights bill
          to the Congress, it
          contained a provision
          protect voting rights in
          Federal elections. That civil rights bill was passed after eight
          months of debate.
          And when that bill came to my desk from the Congress for my signature,
          the heart of the voting provision had been eliminated. This time, on this issue,
          there must be
          no delay, or no
          hesitation, or no compromise with our purpose.

          We cannot, we must
          not, refuse to protect
          the right of every American to vote in every
          he may desire to participate in. And we ought not, and we cannot, and we must
          not wait another eight
          months before we get a bill. We have already waited a hundred years
          and more, and the time for waiting is gone.

          So I ask you
          to join me in working long hours nights
          and weekends,
          if necessary to
          this bill. And I don't make that
          request lightly. For from the window where I sit with
          problems of our country, I recognize that
          from outside this chamber is the outraged
          conscience of a nation, the grave concern of many nations, and the harsh judgment of history
          on our acts.

          But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma
          is part of a
          far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America.
          It is the effort of
          American Negroes to secure for themselves the full
          blessings of American
          life. Their cause
          must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must
          overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

          And we shall overcome.

          As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I
          how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes
          and the structure of our society. But a century
          has passed, more than a hundred years since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free

          It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another
          party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. but emancipation is a proclamation, and not a
          fact. A century has passed, more than a hundred years, since equality was promised.
          And yet
          the Negro
          is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

          The time of justice has now come. I
          you that I believe sincerely that
          no force can hold it
          back. It
          is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come. And when
          it does, I
          that day will brighten
          the lives of every American. For Negroes are not
          the only victims. How
          many white children have gone uneducated?
          How many white families have lived in stark
          poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we've wasted our energy
          and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

          And so
          I say to all of you here, and to all
          in the
          tonight, that those who appeal
          to you
          to hold on to
          the past do
          so at the cost of denying you your future.

          This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all, all black
          and white, all North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies:
          poverty, ignorance, disease. They're our enemies, not our fellow
          man, not our neighbor. And
          these enemies too
          disease, and ignorance: we shall overcome.

          Now let none of us in any section
          look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another
          section, or the problems of our neighbors. There's really no part of America where the promise
          of equality has been
          fully kept. In Buffalo as well as in Birmingham,
          in Philadelphia as well as
          Selma, Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom.


          This is one nation. What
          happens in Selma or in
          Cincinnati is a matter of legitimate concern to
          every American. But let
          each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities, and
          let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel
          to root out injustice wherever it exists.

          As we meet
          here in this peaceful, historic chamber tonight, men
          from the South, some of
          whom were at Iwo Jima, men
          from the North who have carried Old Glory to far corners of the
          world and brought
          it back without a stain on
          it, men from the East and from the West, are all
          fighting together without
          regard to religion, or color, or region, in Vietnam. Men from every
          region fought for us across the world twenty years ago.

          And now
          in these common dangers and these common sacrifices, the South
          contribution of honor and gallantry no
          less than
          any other region in the Great Republic and
          in some instances, a great many of them, more.

          And I
          have not
          the slightest doubt
          that good men from everywhere in
          this country, from the
          Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Golden
          Gate to the harbors along the Atlantic, will
          rally now together in this cause to vindicate the freedom of all

          For all of us owe this duty. and I believe that all of us will respond to
          it. Your President makes
          that request of every American.

          The real
          hero of this struggle is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to
          risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this nation. His
          demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change,
          designed to stir reform.
          He has called upon
          us to make good the promise of America. And who
          among us can say that we would have made
          the same progress were it
          not for his persistent
          bravery, and
          faith in American democracy.

          For at
          the real
          heart of battle for equality is a deep seated belief in
          the democratic process.
          Equality depends not on the force of arms or tear gas but depends upon
          the force of moral
          right. not on recourse to
          violence but on respect for law and order.

          And there have been many pressures upon your President and there will be others as the days
          come and go. But I pledge you
          that we intend to fight this battle where it should be
          fought in
          the courts, and in the Congress, and in the hearts of men.

          We must preserve the right of free speech and the right of free assembly. But the right of free
          speech does not carry with
          it, as has been said,
          the right
          to holler fire in a crowded
          We must preserve the right to free assembly. But free assembly does not
          carry with it the
          to block public thoroughfares to

          We do
          have a right to protest, and a right
          to march under conditions that do
          not infringe the
          constitutional rights of our neighbors. And I intend to protect all
          those rights as long as I am
          permitted to serve in
          this office.


          We will guard against violence, knowing it
          strikes from our hands the very weapons which we
          seek: progress, obedience to law, and belief in
          American values.

          Selma, as elsewhere, we seek and pray for peace.
          We seek order. We seek unity. But we
          not accept
          the peace of stifled rights, or the
          order imposed by fear, or the unity that
          stifles protest. For peace cannot be purchased at
          the cost of liberty.

          Selma tonight
          we had a good day there as
          in every city, we are working for a just
          and peaceful settlement
          And we must all remember that after this speech
          I am making
          tonight, after the police and the FBI and the Marshals have all gone, and after you have
          promptly passed this bill, the people of Selma and the other cities of the Nation
          must still
          and work together. And when
          the attention of the nation
          has gone elsewhere, they must
          try to
          heal the wounds and to build a new

          This cannot be easily done on a battleground of violence, as the history of the South
          shows. It
          is in recognition of this that men of both races have shown such an outstandingly
          impressive responsibility in recent days last
          Tuesday, again

          The bill that I am presenting to you will be known as a civil rights bill. But, in a larger sense,
          most of the program I am recommending is a civil rights program. Its object
          is to open the
          city of hope to all people of all races.

          Because all Americans just must
          have the right to vote.
          And we are going to give them that
          right. All Americans must
          have the privileges of citizenship regardless
          of race. And they are
          going to
          have those privileges of citizenship regardless
          of race.

          But I would like to caution
          you and remind you
          that to exercise these privileges takes much
          more than just legal
          right. It requires a trained
          mind and a healthy body.
          requires a decent
          home, and the chance to find a job, and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of

          Of course, people cannot contribute to
          the nation
          if they are never taught to read or write,
          their bodies are stunted from hunger,
          if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent
          hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check. So we want
          to open
          the gates to opportunity.
          But we're also going to give all our people, black and white,
          the help that
          they need to walk
          through those gates.

          My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small MexicanAmerican
          school. Few of them could speak English, and I
          couldn't speak much
          Spanish. My students
          were poor and they often came to class without
          breakfast, hungry. And they knew, even in
          their youth, the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But
          they knew it was so, because I saw
          it in their eyes. I often walked home late in the afternoon,
          after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I
          knew was to
          them the little that I
          knew, hoping that it might help them against
          the hardships that
          lay ahead.

          Transcription by
          E. Eidenmuller. Property
          of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.


          And somehow you
          never forget what poverty and hatred can do when
          you see its scars on the
          face of a young child.
          never thought
          then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in
          1965. It never even occurred to me in
          my fondest dreams that I might
          have the chance to
          help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this

          now I do have that chance and
          I'll let you in on a secret I
          to use it. And I
          that you will
          use it with

          This is the richest and the most
          country which ever occupied this globe. The might of
          past empires is little compared to ours. But
          I do
          not want to be the President who built
          empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.

          I want
          to be the President who educated young children to
          the wonders of their world.

          I want
          to be the President who helped to
          feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers
          instead of taxeaters.

          I want
          to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the
          right of every citizen to
          vote in every election.

          I want
          to be the President who helped to
          end hatred among his fellow
          men, and who
          promoted love among the people of all
          races and all regions and all parties.

          I want
          to be the President who helped to
          end war among the brothers of this earth.

          And so, at the request of your beloved Speaker, and the Senator from Montana,
          the majority
          leader, the Senator from Illinois, the minority leader, Mr. McCulloch, and other Members of
          both parties, I
          came here tonight not
          as President Roosevelt came down
          one time, in
          person, to veto a bonus bill, not as President Truman came down one time to urge the
          passage of a railroad bill
          I came down here to ask you
          to share this task with me, and
          to share it with the people that we both work for. I want
          this to be the Congress, Republicans
          and Democrats alike, which did all these things for all these people.

          Beyond this great chamber, out yonder in fifty States, are the people that we serve. Who can
          tell what deep and unspoken
          hopes are in their hearts tonight as they sit there and listen. We
          can guess, from our own
          lives, how difficult
          they often
          find their own
          pursuit of happiness,
          how many problems each little family has. They
          look most of all
          to themselves for their
          futures. But
          think that
          they also
          look to each of us.

          Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says in Latin: "God has favored
          our undertaking." God will not favor everything that we do. It
          is rather our duty to divine His
          will. But I cannot help believing that
          He truly understands and that He really favors the
          undertaking that we begin here tonight.