Ahhhh…almost like a breath of fresh air in the news recently, what with the ugliness happening in the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin for no discernible reason I’ve been able to see.
So, I’m a pretty left-leaning guy. I like transparency in government as much as possible. I’m not in favor of people’s civil liberties being trounced. I’m usually in favor of underdogs. So, of course I’d be on the bandwagon of people calling Snowden a hero…after all, a lot of fellow left-leaning folks I see online and outright flaming liberals are singing his praises.
Only I’m not.
I certainly wasn’t jumping on the “hang him for treason” bandwagon at first, either, and I’m still not. But while I adopted a cautious wait-and-see attitude, the more I see, the more I want to see this man in prison.
I mean, first there’s the talk that he was a pretty staunch supporter of government monitoring of civilian communications when a conservative/GOP administration was doing it, suggesting he might be trying to strike a blow against Obama more than anything else. There’s also the way he didn’t just blow a whistle but also hustled out of town with, apparently, some laptops full of classified information (potential money for a rainy day? bargaining chips? other?). There’s also the fact that, like it or not, he was in a position where he pretty much vowed to follow his leaders and keep secrets, and he didn’t…and I’m the kind of guy who likes to see another guy stick to his word.
But, most of all, I am disturbed by how he simply ran.
He ran away. I’ve seen heroes in action in the past, and the real heroes are the ones who say, “I’m doing this because it’s the right thing, and I will stand before authorities, the courts, and anyone else to say that on record.”
Now, I realize that treatment of people who cross or skirt the line of terrorism, treason, espionage, etc. can face some pretty nasty repercussions. So, I totally get not wanting to get tossed into some deep, dark hole in Guantanamo. I really do.
But why did he flee the country, instead of seeking asylum in an embassy here in the States? Why run away from everything, unless…perhaps…it’s really the attention he wants? Or to hurt a particular administration at the expense of national interests (like the GOP in Congress)? Or maybe even to profit from all this while looking like he did a good thing.
Frankly, he’s lucky he’s only being charged with espionage and not with treason. And I suspect if he weren’t a young white guy, there would be a whole lot more effort to bring him back by whatever means necessary.
Also, I don’t feel like what Snowden did really revealed that much about the government that most people with functioning brains didn’t already know it was likely doing. I don’t see how it’s any different than plans (both intended and actually carried out) of the previous administration.
I don’t think Snowden blew much in the way of whistles. But he sure seems to be blowing a trumpet for some fanfare.