Sen. Chuck Schumer didn’t have to say it directly, but he made it very clear that he thinks Edward Snowden is a coward who refuses to face the consequences for his actions.
Transcript from CNN:
CROWLEY: And do you think right now there are U.S. diplomats on the line with Russian diplomats saying, you need to hold that guy and extradite him to us?
SCHUMER: I absolutely it’s very, very likely that we are asking Russia to hold him. Whether Russia does that or not, I don’t know. but the fact that they were allowing him to land indicates we’re not in a phase of cooperation pretty much for sure.
And you know, Snowden — look, let’s look at Snowden here. You know, some might try to say that, oh, he’s a great human rights crusader. He is not at all like the great human rights crusaders in the past, the Martin Luther Kings or the Gandhis who did civil disobedience because he — first, he flees the country. A Daniel Elsburg, when he released the Pentagon Papers because he thought it was the right thing to do, stayed in America and faced the consequences.
But second, he’s hurt other people. You know, a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King didn’t hurt other people as they did their resistance, and they faced the consequences.
So I don’t think Snowden in any way can be compared to those people and should not be made a good guy, hero, or anything like that by anybody.
Schumer didn’t have call Snowden a coward directly. His comparison of him to MLK, Gandhi, and Elsberg made it clear what he was trying to say. Sen. Schumer brought up the one argument that Snowden’s defenders don’t have an answer for. The reason why Snowden isn’t a hero is because he ran away. When Snowden decided to run, he revealed his real motivations. He isn’t interested waging the good fight. He is interested in protecting Edward Snowden.
Real human rights heroes don’t run away, and abandon the people that their actions are supposed to be helping. I want the Patriot Act repealed, but a self-interested individual like Edward Snowden is not the person to lead that movement. Snowden could have been an even bigger hero if he would have proudly said, “Yes, I did it. Our surveillance programs are unconstitutional, and I am here to stand up for the freedom of every American. If I have to go to prison, I am willing to do so for what I think is right.”
Snowden would have been demonstrating a real moral core. Even those who disagree with what he did, would have to respect his courage. Instead, he ran. By going to Hong Kong, then Russia, and possibly, Cuba, Venezuela, and eventually Ecuador, Snowden is making himself look like an enemy to his country, and his actions are only making things worse.
It did take courage to leak the information, but it takes even more courage to face the consequences. Snowden is no human rights hero. Like all Libertarians, he’s acting out of self-interest.
Edward Snowden’s decision to flee is a disgrace to those who have fought, bled, and died for the cause of human rights. Snowden may have fired the first shot, but he turned yellow and fled at the sight of the battle. Chuck Schumer wasn’t just calling out Edward Snowden. He was reminding us of a real hero should behave.
I don’t think Snowden is a traitor, unless he sold information to the Chinese. I also don’t think that he is a hero. I think he is somebody who got in way over his head, and has no idea how to get out. His desperate attempts to avoid taking responsibility for actions rub me the wrong way, and they aren’t the behavior of a true hero.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association