In case you are under the age of forty, Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian whose tag line was, “I don’t get no respect!” Unfortunately, we seem to have elected a President who has the same problem.
“One of the things I intend to do as president is to restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago even four years ago.” That statement was made by President Obama in his first 2008 presidential debate. The problem with this statement is a lack of understanding of the fact that it would be good to be feared as well as respected. Sometimes respect is rooted in fear.
Today’s Wall Street Journal (no link–subscribers only) included an editorial entitled, “Portrait in Respect.” The editorial related to the problems the Obama Administration has had in trying to bring Edward Snowden back to the United States. Hong Kong said they could not return Mr. Snowden because of a technical glitch in the extradition request. Several news sources reported that Hong Kong was under pressure from China not to return Mr. Snowden. Since then, Mr. Snowden has fled to Russia, where the Russians have said that they will not send him back to America. Meanwhile it is a safe bet that the FSB (the new KGB) is downloading information from the four computers Mr. Snowden is traveling with.
Somehow I don’t think America has achieved the respect that was promised in the 2008 Presidential debate.
“Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” was an educational computer game that we used to help our children learn geography. I don’t think he’s doing it to teach us all geography, but that is the gist of the Edward Snowden story right now.
I still have not figured out whether Mr. Snowden is a hero or a goat. I do have a few general comments on the entire episode, however. Mr. Snowden is a product of the American education system. He is a high school dropout. He is young–he is not necessarily mature enough to make the decisions he is currently facing, nor does he have enough knowledge to make those decisions.
Consider this. Mr. Snowden grew up in an education system that does not value America or American values. He has been taught on one hand not to trust the government and on the other hand that the government will take care of him and solve all of his problems. He finds himself working at a job that increases his suspicions of the government (and who knows how many “Matrix” movies he has watched), and he has no idea what to do. He starts exploring the Internet—Wikileaks websites–and decides Wikileaks has the right idea, so he gets in touch with them. At that point he has started a runaway train that cannot be stopped.
Mr. Snowden will never again enjoy the freedom that we have as Americans. He has been so miseducated in America that he has no idea what he has lost. Admittedly, the present Administration has a lot to answer for in terms of spying on Americans and friends and foes of America, but unfortunately, that is all too easy to do in today’s world. I think spying on innocent Americans is wrong–I don’t think it requires fleeing the country with four computers. I wonder exactly what was on those four computers.
As I have said, I have not yet concluded whether Mr. Snowden is a hero or a goat, but his choice of countries to align himself with has me leaning toward goat.