Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Snowden


Edward Snowden knew things that he couldn't leave unaddressed.  He weighed the consequences and made his choice.  Like him, we each make decisions about our culture, our country, our acceptance of the norms.

It appears that he wasn't after fame and fortune.  If fact, he sacrificed everything because he couldn't live with what he knew unless he did something about it. He forfeited career and perhaps much more.

With no wife or kids, he could risk it all. He carefully unveiled what he knew, not risking lives, but he clearly laid out his protest against government actions.

Those of us who remember the upheaval of Vietnam and the anti-war era understand all too well.  There were so many lies and misrepresentations to justify that war.  Those who saw it tried to tell us, to warn us while hundreds of thousands were sent off as cannon fodder in the government's power play.

58,000 U.S. servicemen died.
50,000-65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died in the war.
155,000 refugees were killed or abducted on the Tuy Hoa road, fleeing the NVA Spring Offensive in 1975.
165,000 South Vietnamese died in the re-education camps out of 1-2.5 million sent.
195,000-430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war.
153,000 U.S. servicemen were sent home wounded.

Here at home, we did our best to understand, and we tried to be OK about what was happening.  Those who couldn't ... joined the protest.  Or not.

For decades, we've lived with having sent our servicemen off to do what cannot be justified.  It shouldn't have happened that way.  It was done to us without our informed consent.  It warps your thinking until you face it.  Neither our country nor our government can be proud of those years.  While most of our servicemen who served did so with honor and noble purpose, all came home wounded.

One cannot be part of that which leads to the slaughter of innocents without being scarred, even those who stayed at home and trusted their government to do the right thing.

This year, Snowden faced what only a few knew about.  It was well past the limits of law and the rights of citizens.  He struggled until conscience and clarity of thought prevailed.  He launched his own protest.

He could have let it pass.  As we often do with actions by government, by financial institutions, by influencers and decision makers; he could have said, "Somebody else's problem."

He might have thought of all the people in authority above him and just let it go, but he didn't.  For the rest of his life, he'll live with the consequences of his choice, but at least he won't have to live with the wounds of having turned a blind eye to what was just wrong.

To some degree, such things hammer us all in an imperfect world.  The hope we have is in a good conscience and clear thinking.  And the choices we make.
Snowden's Christmas message this morning, “Together we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. Remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel asking is always cheaper than spying.”
... for the people.
Merry Christmas

No comments: