We live in a country that takes great pride in our freedom. Our constitution is held up as a shining beacon to the world, but we learned this week, that when you scratch beneath the surface, we really aren't that free at all. In fact, thanks to a former government employee named Edward Snowden, we now know that there is shocking level of surveillance of ordinary citizens.
Edward Snowden didn't just blow the lid off what one friend called the "surveillance state freaks," he came forward and revealed who he was at great danger to himself.
That's why I wanted to write this blog post today to let him know that at least one American stands with him, and I'll tell you how bad things have gotten. I was a little afraid to write and publish this post and that tells you that just knowing about this level of surveillance can have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Certainly, we know this much: Our government is collecting data about all of us at a level none of us probably ever imagined, and as computers become more powerful and hard drive space grows ever cheaper, and the software more sophisticated, the amount of information the government can collect, store and process about us in our electronic data-driven world is dizzying.
Some may argue, as Google's Eric Schmidt once did in 2009, that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about, but I would argue that if we have a right against unreaonsable search and siezure, however you define that in the electronic age, then we absolutely must question this level of surveillance of ordinary citizens.
We undoubtedly will soon begin to see a full frontal attack against Snowden. I wouldn't be surprised if it has begun already. As with Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, people will question his motives. Dirt will be dug up whether true or not. They will try to undermine his credibility any way possible.
But if you truly believe in freedom and justice and the power of the US constitution, you have to applaud what this man did and stand with him because he is a true American hero. He stood up for all of us at great personal peril and we need to stand with him now.
I plan to write my congressman and senators this week and urge them to do everything in their power to dig deeply into these allegations and to put limits on this type of surveillance right now, before it's too late. I hope you'll do the same.
Regardless of whether you're Republican or Democrat, or you stand on the right or the left, let's use the power of Democracy and stand together this time, and exercise our right to free speech and let our government know this is not acceptable.