If the Edward Snowden story doesn’t hit a few notes for you, high and low, it should.
The Glenn Greenwald interview
was angular, insightful, if not downright polemic. The Guardian
expertly coordinated social media feeds that offered up probing
questions to the subject, and context was abundant. The ensuing debate
between Greenwald and David Gregory on what makes for responsible reporting added another layer of critical discourse into the mix. It’s been a first for investigative journalism, it seems.
But never mind all that for a moment.
story isn’t really about corporate corruption, wayward government
agencies, egomaniacal storyseekers, lost sons or technological
It’s about free will.
represents a new archetype. A global archetype. A young man, groomed by
the system, whose conscience inevitably kicked in. He asked a different
type of question.
What kind of world do we really want to live in, right now?
Snowden isn’t quite like the Julian Assanges or the Thomas Drakes or the William Binneys or the John Kiriakous of the world. He represents a very different kind of problem: Time.
is biding his in an Ecuadorian 'safe haven', while Drake and Binney do
the rounds at public speaking events, and Kiriakou, a family man, does
his time in a white collar cell with few amenities. Snowden’s time is one
of many dimensions deeper -- he doesn’t have much of it to use
personally (to say he’s on the lam is putting it mildly), but his actions represent something so profound, they could change the course of history irrevocably.
Snowden’s actions ‘right’? Who’s to say. Pundits on both sides will
likely remain in moral gridlock while extradition attempts accelerate
and the once-idle fingers of diplomats point impetuously at foreign
embassies, sucking in the drama of the politik. And then there’s you, the accidental observer.
What Snowden has done is awaken the institution
in an unprecedented way. More importantly, he has brought to light an
idea that all of us must embrace, which is that knowledge is sacred, and
it is our fundamental right to know what governs and guides us, even if
we don’t agree or don’t like what those scenarios look like.
for institutions like Booz Allen Hamilton or the NSA, the age of
reckoning is near. Judging from the hundreds of thousands of comments
flowing around these news stories syndicated across numerous social
media platforms, and hundreds of thousands more who are rioting in the
streets in the Middle East, Europe and South America, along with a groundswell of coalitions determined to protect the first and fourth American amendments, the People are coming to their senses.
Yet we’ve been misguided about our own sensemaking. It shouldn’t have to come to this.
up until now, we, the People, haven’t really been paying attention. The
PRISM and Verizon debacles are just two of many that have been outed or
documented over the last forty years. Since the advent of the Internet,
at least twenty-seven policies have been either proposed or put into
action that directly impede on our civil liberties.
Why is that? Have we really allowed this to happen?
Sensemaking should drive policy. Policy
drives decisions. Decisions, of course, need to be informed. If the People don’t
know what makes their world go ‘round, the folks on the Hill sure won’t.
Globalized governments can’t.
goes the daisy chain of stupid, ignorant and/or harmful decisions,
decisions that not only pull apart the social fabric of our country and
others around the globe, but create unnecessary animosity and distrust
between institutions, their stakeholders and the People who support
them. We can’t blame the situation on lobbying, either. That’s a copout.
We are, indelibly, the People, and we, without due argument, are
responsible for our own fate.