Next month a movie about this American will be released. Is he a patriot or a traitor? A villain or a hero? Do you feel the same way about him now as you did two years ago?
How do your opinions compare?
We all have opinions about our country. While some of us are Democrats and others are Republicans, and while some are Libertarians and others are right of the Tea Party, we can generally all agree on certain aspects of the American government and our basic freedoms. Nobody wants our rights taken away and we all want to be good patriots, but what is a good patriot?
“Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen…” and nothing would seem more certain than this. That is what one well-known American had to say recently, but not all are in agreement with his point of view.
“How can that be?” you might ask. Protecting the country, the Constitution and the countrymen would seem to be the highest priorities for a true patriot.
He added that we also need to look out for “encroachments of adversaries, and those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries. They can be bad policies.” There are many Americans who believe that bad policies are hurting the country. Ask anyone who claims to be in the Tea Party. They will tell you that Obamacare is killing this country. Ask many on the left and they will tell you lack of gun control is killing our children.
But this is not the sort of thing this well-known American is talking about. It could just be “simple overreach and — and things that — that should never have been tried, or — or that went wrong.”
So the encroachments on our freedoms could be the sort of thing that intrudes on our privacy. “If we want to be free, we can’t become subject to surveillance. We can’t — give away our privacy,” he told a reporter.
But is that what we are doing? Are we no longer free if we allow the government into every aspect of our lives? Is it right for them to collect data on our computer use, our telephone calls, our visits to neighbors? Shall they put cameras and sound recording equipment at major intersections? Should they fly drones over our houses to see what we are doing? What is to be done to preserve our American way of life?
“We have to be an active part of our government. And we have to say — there are some things worth dying for. And I think the country is one of them.”
The problem would seem to many that the average person is not an active part of government. People do not vote. They do not become educated on government policies, although they may re-post misleading graphics to Facebook. They do not protest the encroachment on the things we think are protected in the Bill of Rights. They do not speak out.
Some may believe that we have to give up liberties to stay safe, but this American will question whether recent historical events “justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our Constitution says we should not give up.” It is a tough issue, to be sure. Do you think we should give up freedoms to the government without proof as to why this should be? What about the Fourth Amendment?
It would seem the Fourth Amendment might be encroached upon by some programs at home. Do we really believe “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated?” If so, are recent actions of the government violating this idea?
This American does not necessarily disagree with the government’s need for surveillance but adds, “It’s the dirtiness of the way these things are being used. It’s the lack of respect for the public.”
So do you agree that is the problem with government programs? Are some policies bad, or at least the implementation of the policies, because they do not hold respect for the American people? These matters of government programs and their effects on our lives are a sticky business. Do you think things are worse because Obama is the President? Do you think things were worse when Bush was the President? Do you think we would have been better off with Romney or Mrs. Clinton or even Donald Trump?
Consider carefully and think to yourself how well you agree or disagree with the quotes above? It seems hard to disagree with an American who is defending American beliefs. Do you agree surveillance is necessary for freedom? Are you disloyal if you disagree? Now ask yourself, are you a good American? If you are a citizen of this country my guess is you think you are a good American. Are you a real patriot?
“Do you see yourself as a patriot?” a reporter asked this well know American, now living overseas.
“I do,” Edward Snowden replied.
If I now told you all the quotes above are from Snowden, what do you think of them? Could your opinion possibly have changed about those patriotic quotes?
Joseph Gordon Leavitt will play the lead in the Oliver Stone film, Snowden.