Dear Future President,
In June of 2013, a National Security Agency contractor named Edward Snowden leaked to The Guardian newspaper thousands of top secret government documents, revealing that millions of Americans were having their email, phone, and internet records collected by the government. In other words, Snowden exposed that the United States was spying on every single picture posted, every text message or email sent. He showed that the NSA’s surveillance programs were unconstitutional and an obvious invasion of privacy. For this, however, he was branded a traitor, and forced to flee to Russia for fear of being prosecuted by the government. He displayed the injustices and failure of surveillance programs, yet no one remembers his name. He made public disclosure of corruption and wrongdoing, only to be forgotten by the very people he was trying to help. Edward Snowden should be remembered as a hero and be pardoned by the President.
Everyone knows who Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr are: two very significant and essential people who have helped shape our country. In the Civil Rights Era, when these two stood up for their morals and beliefs, society belittled them for their ‘minority’ opinions. They risked their lives, just like Edward Snowden, to defend their rights and the rights of others. They risked their lives for the good of the public. And this is exactly why Snowden whistle-blew: to inform the world of corruption and injustice. So how can we call such a brave, principled, righteous man a traitor?
As Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales stated, “[Snowden] has exposed what I believe to be criminal wrongdoing, lying to Congress and certainly a shock and an affront, in America, an affront to the fourth amendment.” The obvious solution was to blame Snowden, but he is the hero, not the traitor. His duty to the country, to his people, went before anything in his personal life. Snowden, like most in his position, realized that there would be dire consequences. However, unlike most, he also realized that what the government was doing was not moral, that there had to be other ways to solve the terrorist problem, and that he had to stand up for the people. What he did was selfless, for he literally lost everything by blowing the whistle. He could never go back to his normal life, but he understood the consequences and still did it, showing true heroism. By revealing government immorality, he informed the people of the government’s invasion of privacy, as it was their right to know. He put aside his own personal interests to inform us of the government’s criminal wrongdoing. His whistleblowing did good for our country and its people. One cannot ask for a more ideal example of loyalty to our country before anything else. He is truly a rare and great display of civic virtue, and he should be allowed to return to the United States.