The media machine is in full swing demonizing and downplaying whoever is deemed the target of the moment. Of course, quite literally public enemy number one is Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle blower. At the moment, the U.S. is making asylum very difficult for Mr. Snowden, and is applying pressure on all foreign governments to get him back to the States.
As far as what he did, and what it constitutes, I will not say one way or another. We can engage the right and the wrong of it in the comments. Now in terms of what was revealed, it is pretty major. I know that there was a joke post the other day involving Snowden, but in all seriousness this is a pretty major deal. What has confounded me about some of the conversations around the issue is the following. I have read and seen some Black public intellectuals weigh in on this issue, and trash Edward Snowden from the vantage point that he is “embarassing” the Obama Administration. That is so not the point. Snowden has confirmed what many have only suspected- that the U.S. government is spying on its citizens. Some say this isn’t a big deal, but to put it out there is a personally brave thing to do. To be honest, he had to know that his life was pretty much forfeited the moment he hit “send” on those files. Some people are quick to say that if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from the prying eyes of the government. Well, the entire decade of the 60’s will show you examples of why that thinking is short sighted.
Regardless of the outcome of the Snowden saga, the reality of the surveillance state is right in front of our eyes. It just so happens that at this juncture in time, a Black man is at the head of this country. That in itself is no reason to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to civil liberties. These revelations are deeper than just an “embarassment.”