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Edward Snowden: A Modern Patriot

by Dale Schlundt, published

As the Edward Snowden interview with Brian Williams concluded, Snowden stated that he is comfortable with his actions of divulging the NSA’s information gathering program. After watching the interview, my thoughts were much the same: I am content with Snowden’s actions.

Although, I was previously supportive of the former intelligence employee’s actions, I had not expected such an eloquent defense and more important argument for the welfare of the U.S. to be put forth. To not heed his word of demanding accountability and transparency of our government officials in programs mentioned may prove to be a mistake.

My vote between traitor or patriot is patriot.

There has been much focus on the idea that Snowden has put American security at risk, making national security information available to our enemies and potential enemies. However, the issue lies in defining the identity of these so call enemies.

In other words, the premise of Snowden’s course of action was to make known that perhaps the overseas foe is not as great of a threat as the domestic one. Perhaps it is not a terrorist lurking in your back yard, but your own government.

As Brian Williams points out in his initial questioning, if we are doing no wrong, then what disadvantage is it to us to have our government invade our privacy?

I could not agree more with Snowden in this regard, as he refers to a “security state,” one where security takes priority over freedom. Yet, the fundamental issue, as my wife and I debated without coming to a consensus following the interview, is that this sets a precedent.

The idea that I have nothing to hide, and therefore I lose nothing in allowing this, misses the bigger question: If we allow this, what liberty is allowed to be taken next?

"When people fear the government, there is tyranny. When governments fear the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
The question of Snowden’s appropriate judgment or sentence arose -- in the event that he returns to the U.S. For the purposes of this piece, it is irrelevant, yet brings to light a great question. It’s a great question that I will answer with the following. As I point out to my students, the American Revolution was illegal.

Dale Schlundt holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education with a concentration in American History from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is currently an Adjunct Professor for Palo Alto College and Northwest Vista College. Dale has written two books, Tracking Life's Lessons: Through Experiences, History, and a Little Interpretation and Education Decoded (A Collection of My Writings).

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