I’ve heard many rebuts to Sen. Rand Paul’s assertion that while Snowden lied and committed criminal acts, so did James Clapper and history will judge which, if either, were righteous. I’m not one to quickly jump in the corner of any individual and Snowden is no exception. I simply don’t know who he is. For all we know he is a spy, a communist supporter, or worse. Then again, he may be the catalyst for our nation’s youth and the love of liberty – completely selfless and righteous in this act. What I do know is that the NSA (to include James Clapper) has been dishonest to the American people and continues to be.
There’s a bit of irony in all of this post 9/11 reaction. Liberals are more interested than conservatives in protecting individual liberty is among the most blatant. That the Republican lead initiative to grow government and their ability to “spy” on their own citizens shows the hand of the not so Grand Ol’ Party. Add to it that we have flipped our credo all men are innocent until proven guilty with the simple logic that if you’re unwilling to disclose your entire personal life to the government then you must be guilty of something and yet, the government claims complete innocence while maintaining the need for secrecy.
Perhaps the most haunting irony is heard in the defiant cry made in the aftermath of those towers collapsing that now speak in a faint echo, “If Americans begin to yield their own freedoms at home, the terrorists have won”. Now here we are at a crux. Americans have yielded their freedoms almost unknowingly. Their government cannot even explain just how much freedom has been lost, due to classification purposes.
We’re told that such information being disclosed would make us unsafe; that our great protector must have eyes and ears everywhere in order to keep us, the ignorant, from harm. We’re told that our Verizon phones, our Skype conversations, and our Gmail accounts are tools of terrorists, but we’re disallowed any such evidence, much less proof. We’re told to trust them with our information, that they will use it wisely and only when the law permits in the same week that we’re told that they misused it, and released some of it accidently. Trust them, those who have become so partisan that they use political arms to punish their opposition. Trust them, those who only admitted to spying on you after the information was leaked. Trust them, those who follow no creed, have lost sight of first principles, and attempt to skirt the law that was made to control them, not us, as often as possible.
I often think of John Winthrop’s “shining city upon a hill” and how Reagan and Kennedy fortified that belief with the ideas of American exceptionalism; that we stand as a beacon to all other nations in our mission to spread liberty. I picture it not unlike Reagan – so I will use his words. “It was a tall proud city, built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.” Reagan goes on to say that that’s how he still sees it.
Now our nation chases a man, a leaker, a law breaker. One man who has apparently put us all in danger and has caused great harm by revealing the unconstitional actions of our federal government. When the foundations of your city are so weathered and eroded, when the ground is crumbling and the walls are ruined, then and only then, can a single person come in and topple buildings, and break fortifications. I no longer see that shining city on a hill in my America – I see decay and rot ready to be pummeled by weaklings.
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