Say the name Ed Snowden and you will get a myriad of responses ranging from praising the patriot to hanging the traitor. Like many of you, I find myself wrestling with what to think of the man but I think I have finally come to terms with where I land on this issue. The man is a hero who ought to be hung, but just before he walks into the light I’m ok if the rope snaps and he lives. That’s about as sensible as I can be about the matter as for lovers of liberty, freedom, and privacy the man certainly did us a solid at great expense to himself. Then again, his actions have irreparably harmed our country’s ability to collect foreign intelligence and that likely costs lives on the battlefield and in the clandestine services. Who cares if the NSA gets to look at all my naked selfies if lives are saved, right? Then again, Ed said this “Nobody needs to justify why they need a right. You can’t give away the rights of others because they’re not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.” Aside from that being an equally beautiful argument for our beloved 2nd amendment, the man is dead on. Which is why I hear by call Ed Snowden, the most cowardly hero you will ever meet.
I watched the Snowden movie yesterday and without a doubt the slant of the movie is that this man is an unequivocal hero. So best you make up your mind before you see it and I’d recommend the Snowden documentary for a more honest look. But that being said, Snowden blowing the whistle on government surveillance was a heroic defense of individual liberty and privacy. Americans since our founding have always gone well out of their way to prioritize liberty over security and I am of the opinion a man ought to be able to do a naked Macarena in front of his computer without fear of some Government nerd looking at you. But more importantly, I am of the opinion that you and I ought to be able to say nasty things about our government without them ever knowing it happened. Privacy from our government is a natural right, not a suggestion.
This is a right we are talking about here and Snowden makes the point that not caring about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about the right to free speech because you have nothing to say. Look, I get it that Americans voluntarily give up massive amounts of information every day through social media because simply must know which character from Harry Potter we would be. But at least we give up our privacy with consent rather than getting privacy raped by the NSA. This is a right we are talking about here and the man risked much to ensure we were aware that our government slipped something into our drink.
And then on top of it all, let’s talk about the nudes. Oh I know you say that workers at the NSA are professionals, but unless they have a “eunuch only” policy at the NSA I guarantee you someone is scoping out people’s private nudie pics. I mean, c’mon man that’s more temptation than one could possibly bear. In fact, I’ll prove by posting a link to a random nude picture here and through my site analytics I’ll be able to tell how many, not who, but how many of you actually clicked. But all that to say we lovers of liberty hold sacred our rights and that includes the ones we don’t often use or care about. Snowden exposed this and if you make me choose between liberty or security then I am happy to die earlier in life just so long as I die free. It took great courage and the man is a hero, but also and unfortunately, a coward.
In 1943, Captain John P. Cromwell was about the submarine USS Sculpin when an attack on a Japanese convoy went terribly wrong. Taking heavy fire on the surface, the only way to save the men was to sound the call to abandon ship which would result in their imminent capture. The only problem for Cromwell was that he alone on this ship was in possession of knowledge about the US top secret code breaking program and upcoming invasion of Tarawa. Fearing Japanese torture or drugs would force him to reveal this information, when the men were off the sub he took that bad boy right down to the bottom with him in it. For his actions that day, Captain Cromwell was awarded the Medal of Honor and the respect of every man to every wear the uniform. That being said, Ed Snowden has no business being in Russia. None, whatsoever.
I understand his need to hide out while the story was breaking and having been to Hong Kong myself I see it as good a place as any. Crazy crowded and plenty of white dudes running around. However, once the story broke it now became about Snowden saving his own neck from the hangman’s noose and for that, I brand him a coward. The story goes that he was heading through Moscow in route to South America where he planned to seek asylum but the US revoked his passport. Meaning, oh darn I guess I’ll just have to hang out in Moscow with my buddy Vlad Putin. Snowden bro, if you hold the one ring to rule them all you don’t travel to the Shire via Mordor. If the US did make the decision to strand him in Moscow then this government is dumber than it often looks.
There is absolutely no part of me that fails to believe that Putin has former KGB guys shoving pineapples up Snowden’s butt twice a day to get the information he has. The dude is an intelligence treasure trove and he parked his butt in Moscow in an attempt to save his own neck. Once the information was out, Snowden would have done well to take a page from Captain Cromwell’s book and face the music. As it is, some have made the case that Snowden was an agent of Russia all along and that’s entirely possible. But if Snowden had just walked up the steps of the Department of Justice and turned himself in it would have proved he was more whistleblower and less traitor. You can scoff at me if you want and say I don’t know what I would have done in that situation, but that’s not true. I’d be back at the NSA looking at pictures of your sister. And with that, I conclude and brand Ed Snowden the most cowardly hero you will ever meet. You did us a solid dude, but just really wish you hadn’t done Putin a solid either.
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