Edward Snowden, “whistleblower”

The latest “scandal” of the Obama Administration in the United States is an insult. An insult to “scandals”, that is.

A real scandal, unlike a “disagreement over government policy”, is like when that married guy was in a prostitution ring (Governor Eliot Spitzer) or when that other guy kind of ordered the wiretapping of people he didn’t like (President Richard Nixon). Here, no-one acted like our favourite crook (who famously refused to admit he was one), and certainly no-one got naked. But never mind, Snowden is a heroic “whistleblower” who uncovered some really sinister stuff and now faces punishment for his feats.

We’re setting ourselves some really low standards when the bar for “heroics” is when you tell everyone else what the U.S. government was authorised by legislation to do, and for which there are no specific cases where there was real abuse. And in the process, reveals that, sure, going back on your word and not honouring sworn commitments is always an option.

Again, whether the United States government should or needs to gather data is another matter. But Snowden’s self-righteousness in his explanations of what he did and why he did it really don’t match up with the scale of the revelations.

And it’s not just the hyperboles and self-importance. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Sure, your partisan “conservatives” who were all up for it when President Bush pushed for the very act that enabled this program suddenly turned around and pronounced that they had fallen wildly in love with the idea of civil liberties. No problem, they’ve done crap like that a thousand times. But for others to say that we have to take the practical harms from guns and restrictive abortion access seriously but at the same time talk about privacy as though it is utterly inviolable is an unexpected and really disappointing double standard.

What’s more shameful here than the “scandal” is the misplaced obsession from everyone over celebrity and heroics.

And that people who one day laugh at rednecks calling President Obama a tyrant can just as easily toss around “hero” the next.