Thanks to an interview that aired Wednesday night on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Edward Snowden is back in the news.
Edward Snowden should be in the news every day. Or at the very least, his issue of the United States government spying on its citizens should because his fleeing to Russia has not stopped that from occurring.
During Snowden’s interview, he made some statements that surely a lot of Americans agree with. Others, no doubt disagree with those exact same statements. Snowden’s mere existence seems to have a polarizing effect on Americans.
For one, Snowden thinks of himself as a patriot in exile. I happen to agree with this statement. Others view him as a traitor because he turned the tables on the government. And some people seem to think that whatever the government does must be okay since, you know, they’re the government.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is obviously in the “pro-government” position. He told NBC that "Patriots don't go to Russia. … Edward Snowden is a coward. He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so."
That’s an interesting choice of words, “face the music.” Kerry didn’t say, “If Edward Snowden wants to come present his findings,” or “if Edward Snowden wants to discuss this with Congress,” or anything like that. He said “face the music.” That sounds to me like he was already convicted of something.
And, of course, that’s why Snowden has no plans to come back anytime soon. Much as he’d like to come home, the “music” that he would be facing won’t allow him to present any findings or speak to Congress — or anyone else for that matter. In fact, he’d probably find himself in a deep dark hole where no one would ever hear from him again.
Snowden says he tried to do things the right way, through proper channels, only to be thwarted. When no one would listen to his complaints, that’s when he hatched the plan to leak the “classified” information and ended up in Russia.
Note the quotation marks around the word “classified.” In person, they’d be what you’d call “air quotes” or “ironic quotes.” In other words, I don’t feel like they should be classified to begin with. Our government spying on us is not something that should be kept quiet. It should be shouted from the rooftops.
See, keeping quiet about something you know to be wrong is essentially condoning it. You’re saying you approve of whatever it is. Speaking up is not treason. It’s patriotism. And John Kerry of all people should know that.
Scott Leffler believes that patriotism is better than nationalism. And Edward Snowden is a patriot. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.