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Is Snowden a[n American] Hero?

Popularity 2Viewed 1399 times 2014-6-8 16:42 |Personal category:Society|System category:News| Snowden, Civil, Disobedience, American, hero

In the recent NBC interview, Snowden insists he is an American patriot, justisfying what he has been doing by provocating "civil disobedience" , the idea of which Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)has famously come up with and has henceforth inspired, among others,  Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King in their fight for justice. Given the fact that Thoreau has been generally celebrated as an American hero, one begins to wonder if the same can be said of the former American secret service agent Edward Snowden, who has chosen to disobey his government in order to, in his own words, "serve my country."
 
Snowden insists he is "a patriot,' even though the meaning of the word has been somehow devalued. He has this much to say about what it means to be a patriot, "Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen from violations or [imminent?] encroachment or adversaries.And these adversaries don't have to be foreign countries. They can be bad policies, they can be officials that could have a bit more accountabilities..." 
 
He is convinced that he has done "the right thing," reminding his audience that in the history of the United States, "what is right is not always the same with what is legal." Right there, one thinks not only of the American Revolution or Thoreau, but also Jack Bauer in 24, the extremely popular FOX TV series that has been around since 2001 in the wake of 9/11. In a note extremely reminiscent of Bauer, Snowden says toward the end of the interview, "I may have lost my ability to travel, but I've gained the ability to go to sleep at night, to put my head on the pillow feeling comfortable that I've done the right thing, even though it is the hard thing."
 
Has Snowden done the right thing in the eyes of American public, if not the American government? After all, Snowden believes what he has done is in the best interest of American public, if also the American ideal of free speech and all.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report 财神 2014-6-8 21:34
ColinSpeakman: You are going to get different opinions on this, I have lived in USA, though not an American. I am sure that there are many who do not appreciate the  ...
It's complicated.  

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  • Is Snowden a[n American] Hero? 2014-6-8 21:34

    ColinSpeakman: You are going to get different opinions on this, I have lived in USA, though not an American. I am sure that there are many who do not appreciate the  ...
    It's complicated.  

  • Is Snowden a[n American] Hero? 2014-6-8 20:13

    You are going to get different opinions on this, I have lived in USA, though not an American. I am sure that there are many who do not appreciate the widespread intrusion without justification into citizens' affairs. In exposing that, Snowden has taken one for the people! I believe Pres Obama himself has asked that these intrusions be rolled back. Snowden put himself in a place of discomfort to do so. If that is the main focus, then he can be seen to be patriotic in the sense of : for the people. However he has made what might be necessary international intelligence gathering to keep America safe, more problematic. Or has he? If he has, that could harm the people and be seen as unpatriotic! It is a question of where to put the focus!

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