Before last week, very few people knew the name Edward Snowden. Not the case now. It seems he's either a hero or traitor, depending on who you talk to and their political ideology. No matter what you think of him, however, we owe him a collective thanks for the information he exposed. In a nutshell, Edward Snowden (through Glenn Greenwald) told America about an out of control national security and intelligence superstructure that desperately needs to be curbed.
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any politician to recognize and address this. As one of the callers to my show Thursday morning said, "Barack Obama, I love you, but dude, you're wrong on this." What have we come to as a nation? We need to collect data on millions of innocent Americans to catch potential terrorists? What happened to those watch lists we were told about? And don't tell me about dozens of terror attacks the data mining prevented. Unless you can share more information with the nation, I for one am not buying it.
Then there's that famed security hawk Peter King, the Congressman from Long Island. Once upon a time he supported an organization some regarded as terrorist. But that was then, this is now. These days he wants to lock up journalist Glenn Greenwald, the bearer of the bad news Edward Snowden exposed. What followed was a game of "Who's the traitor? You're the traitor." I leave it to you to decide which is which.
Under normal circumstances, in a different day and time, one might expect Americans to be outraged. Most don't appear to be, in particular young people. I got a great explanation for this from Chris Dunn of the NYCLU. He says most young people go so public with the intimate details of their lives (and bodies) that spying on their phones or e-mails means little or nothing to them. He may well have a point.
For the past week or so I've been conflicted about how to view Edward Snowden, and what he did. Is it too much to call him a hero? Perhaps. But then again, he's not a traitor either. Maybe we should leave it to him.
Says Edward Snowden, "I'm not a hero or a traitor. I'm an American."
Listen to The RL Morning Show weekdays 6 AM to 9 AM on WWRL 1600.