The expression Biden used during his inaugural speech was “And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example”. Clinton used the same expression in a different way in 2008 when he asked Americans to support Obama. He said “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power”. This expression can be explained in many ways. To explain it clearly, the quote needs to be separated into two parts. The part “example of our power” is easier to understand. It means the military and economic power of the US. Biden meant the US should not only use its military and economic power to lead the world. Many would consider that as bullying.
Biden said the power of American example was a better way to lead the world. The powers of American example are many. Electing Kamala Harris, a woman whose is also half black and half Indian, as vice president is a powerful example of American democracy. Other powers of American example are its freedoms, its system that allows immigrants of all races to become Americans, and its ability to unite and have a peaceful transfer of power despite being a politically divided country. When Clinton used the quote, he meant people all over the world are more impressed by America’s democracy, freedoms, defence of human rights, and its ability to self-reflect than by its military power.
上星期宣誓就任第四十六屆總統的拜登，在其就職演說（inaugural speech）中用了一個習語，我甚為喜歡。他不是首位用這個習語的美國領袖，前總統克林頓在二○○八年，呼籲美國人投票給奧巴馬時，也用過這個習語。An inaugural speech即就職演說，是在一個人擔任重要一職，例如總統或首相，履新時所發表的第一篇演講。新當選的美國總統發表就職演說（inaugural speech）是個慣例。
拜登在其就職演說（inaugural speech）上所用的習語是“And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example”（我們將領頭，不僅僅是以力量為榜樣，更是以榜樣為力量）。克林頓二○○八年促請美國人支持奧巴馬時，亦用了相同的習語，只是說法不同，他說的是“People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power”（世界各地的人總是更欽佩我們作榜樣的力量，多於我們以力量作榜樣）。這個習語可以有不同的解法，要清晰地解說，這句話需要分成兩部份。“Example of our power”這一部份較易理解，意思就是美國的軍力和經濟實力。拜登的意思是，美國不應單以其軍事和經濟力量帶領全球——許多人會認為那是一種霸權。
拜登說the power of American example是領導全球更好的方式。美國榜樣的力量（the powers of American example）有許多，選出一半黑人、一半印度裔的女性賀錦麗為副總統，就是美國民主一個有力的示範。另一些具影響力的美國榜樣（powers of American example）是它的自由，它的制度容許所有種族的新移民成為美國人，還有它得以團結的力量，即使是一個政見分歧的國家，仍能有和平的權力交接。當克林頓說這句話時，他的意思是世界各地的人是欽佩美國的民主、自由、捍衞人權，以至其自省的能力，更甚於懾服在其軍事力量之下。中譯：七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧