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阿斯特夫人 妇女从政

2006-07-07 16:56

Lady Astor

WOMEN IN POLITICS

April9,1922

  My entrance into the House of Commons was not,as some thought,in the nature of a revolution.Itwas an evolution.My husband was the one whostarted me off on this downward path—from thefireside to public life.If I have helped the cause ofwomen he is the one to thank,not me.

  A woman in the House of Commons!It was almost enough to have broken up the House.Idon't blame them—it was equally hard on thewoman as it was on them.A pioneer may be a pic-turesque figure,but they are often rather lonelyones.I must say for the House of Commons,theybore their shock with dauntless decency.No bodyof men could have been kinder and fairer to a“pi-rate”than they were.When you hear people overhere trying to run down England,please rememberthat England was the first large country to give thevote to women and that the men of England wel-comed an American born woman in the House witha fairness and a justice which,at least,this womannever will forget.

  Women and politics—some women have al-ways been in politics,and have not done badly,ei- ther.It was when we had the Lancastrian Kingsthat it was said that the Kings were made Kings byact of Parliament—they did rule by means of Par-liament.Then Henry VIII,that old scalawag,ac-cepted the principles of the Lancastrians to rule byParliament,but he wanted the principle in an en-tirely different way.He made Parliament the en-gine of his will:he pressed or frightened it into do-ing anything he wished.Under his guidance Parlia-ment defied and crushed all other powers,spiritu-ally and temporally,and he did things which noKing or Parliament ever attempted to do—thingsunheard of and terrible.

  Then Elizabeth came along.It is true shescolded her Parliament for meddling with matterswith which,in her opinion,they had no concern,and more than once soundly rated the Speaker ofher Commons,but she never carried her quarrelstoo far,and was able to end her disputes by someclever compromise;in other words,she never letParliament down,and that is what I don't believeany wise woman will do in spite of the fears ofsome of the men.

  Now,why are we in politics?What is it allabout?Something much bigger than ourselves.Schopenhauer was wrong in nearly everything hewrote about women—and he wrote a lot,but hewas right in one thing.He said,in speaking ofwomen,“the race is to her more than the individu- al,”and I belive that it is true.I feel somehow wedo care about the race as a whole,our very naturemakes us take a forward vision;there is no reasonwhy women should look back—mercifully we haveno political past;we have all the mistakes of sexlegislation with its appalling failures to guide us.

  We should know what to avoid,it is no useblaming the men—we made them what they are—and now it is up to us to try and make ourselves—the makers of men—a little more responsible in thefuture.We realize that no one sex can governalone.I believe that one of the reasons why civi-lization has failed so lamentably is that it has had aone-sided government.Don't let us make the mis-take of ever allowing that to happen again.

  I can conceive of nothing worse than man-governed world except a woman-governed world—but I can see the combination of the two going for- ward and making civilization more worthy of thename of civilization based on Christianity,notforce.A civilization based on justice.and mercy.Ifeel men have a greater sense of justice and we ofmercy.They must borrow our mercy and we mustuse their justice.We are new brooms;let us seethat we sweep the right rooms.

阿斯特夫人

妇女从政

1922年4月9日

  我进入下议院,并不像某些人认为的那样具有革命的性质。这是一种进化。我的丈夫,是他促使我走上这条道路——从家务走向公务。要说我帮助了妇女事业的话,值得感谢的人是他,而不是我。一个妇女进了下议院!这几乎足以震动下议院。我并不责备他们——这件事使妇女和他们一样极为难堪。先驱者也许光彩照人,但他们通常颇为孤独。我必须为下议院说上几句,他们无所畏惧、宽容大度地经受住了自己的震惊。没有一个男人能够比他们更善良、更公正地对待一个“侵犯专利权者” 了。当你们听到有人在这儿试图贬低英国,那么请记住,英国是第一个赋予妇女以选举权的大国,英国男人以公正的态度,欢迎一个在美国出生的妇女进入下议院。对此,至少这位妇女将永志不忘。

  妇女和政治——一些妇女终生从政,而且还干得不赖。在我国的兰加斯特王朝时期,听说国王之所以能成为国王是由于议会的作用——国王是借助议会来实施统治的。后来,亨利八世那个老恶棍接受了兰加斯特王朝的由议会实行统治的原则,但是他需要的原则样式截然不同。他将议会变成了他个人意志的工具:他压迫并恐吓议会完全按照他的意志行事。在他的授意下,议会暂时在精神上对抗并压倒了其他所有的权力机构。他的所作所为没有一位国王或一个议会敢于尝试——闻所未闻,糟糕透顶。

  接着,伊丽莎白登基。确实,她曾责备议会多管闲事,她认为这些事情同议会无关。她不止一次严厉地批评她的下议院议长,但是她的争吵从不过分,她能运用明智的让步了结争执。换句话说,她从不让议会下不了台。这就是我相信没有一个明智的妇女会无视某些男人的疑虑而我行我素的原因。

  那么,我们为何要从政呢?从政意义何在?其意义远比我们自身更重要。叔本华有关妇女的所有论述差不多都是错误的——他写得很多,但有一点他是正确的。他在谈到妇女时说,“对她来说,人类比个人更重要”,我相信这是千真万确的。我觉得,由于某种原因,我们确实关心整个人类。我们特有的本性使我们向前看;妇女没有理由要往后看——幸运的是我们没有参与政治的经历;我们有的只是性别立法的错误,这种立法根本谈不上指导我们的行动。

  我们应该懂得要避免什么。一味责备男人徒劳无益——是我们塑造了他们。现在,我们理应努力使我们自己——男人的塑造者们在将来担负更多一些的责任。我们认识到无论是男性或女性都无法单独进行统治。我相信,文明之所以沦落到如此可悲的地步,原因之一就是政府内只有一种性别。我们不允许再重蹈覆辙了。

  我可以想象没有比一个由男人统治的世界或者一个由妇女统治的世界更糟糕的了——但我可以看到两者携手并进,并且使建筑在基督教精神而不是势力基础上的文明更加名副其实。文明是建立在公正和仁慈基础上的。我觉得男人有更强的正义感,而我们妇女有更强的仁慈感。他们应当采用我们的仁慈,我们应当采用他们的正义。我们就像是刚上任的新官,让我们共同管好这个世界。

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