Snowden Blurs Usual Party Lines

As MidWeek went to press last Friday, NSA leaker Edward Snowden was stuck in a Moscow airport trying to find a way to get to a country that will welcome him and provide legal shelter.

Snowden, who revealed detailed information about a U.S. program to monitor Internet activity, has been trapped in a sort of no man’s land since leaving Hong Kong June 24. He applied for asylum in at least 30 countries, according to his ally, WikiLeaks. But with his U.S. passport revoked and most countries skittish about jumping between Snowden and the U.S. government, his choices were severely limited. I won’t go into all the byzantine details. You have to watch and read the news every day to keep up. It’s complicated.

Also complicated: the range of reactions sparked by the man. How do you feel about Snowden and his actions? Do you think he’s a hero? A traitor? Something in between – say, a criminal, but one who nonetheless provided us with valuable information?

I have to say, this case has cracked all sorts of political and social boundaries. You have liberals, moderates and conservatives agreeing with each other – on both sides. There seems to be no pattern, no way to define or predict how people react within the usual frameworks.

If not politics, what? Age? Are younger folks more likely to consider Snowden in a more positive light? Gender? Are men or women more likely to give him a pass? How about occupation, education or income levels?

I’ve been confused and intrigued by Snowden, his actions and his motivations. It hasn’t escaped notice that although he espouses sunlight, freedom, free speech and privacy, the countries where he has sought entry are not exactly models of these virtues. China? Russia? Venezuela?

I’d love to hear from you what you think about Edward Snowden and why you feel that way.

My son needed a new computer, so my husband had a brilliant idea. Why not build one from scratch? So they did. My son researched what he’d need. We gave him a budget and he ordered all the components for a new desktop from Amazon (free shipping!). Some things became apparent right away. It’s not as hard as one might believe, but it’s not as easy as snapping together a bunch of Legos.

It took the two of them a couple of days to put it together and look for the kinks. There were a few. Some parts weren’t right, at least one broke under the pressure of inexperienced handling. So my son did more research and ordered more parts.

They’ve taken it apart and put it back together at least five times. And they finally, we all think, got it right.

My son, happy as a clam, is busy loading who knows what on it right now. He knows exactly what he wants.

I worry that because he didn’t buy a premade desktop, if anything goes wrong he won’t have tech support readily available. But I’m sure he’ll figure out how to fix it himself or find out where to go for help.

And what a great bonding experience for the boys. What an accomplishment! I’m proud of them both.