In light of recent scandals and growing public disdain of government, a new level of distrust has been born out of two wars, national security scandals, bungled national disaster responses, and failed promises. Growing in young Americans is the distrust in our government’s ability to function as a transparent and honest democracy.
These are just two opinions but they are not the only two.
Isn’t it ironic how Independence Day is right around the corner and we feel less free than ever? There are the National Security Agency scandals, the IRS’ target lists and much more that might be going on that could be hidden from the public. Is the government, that we put all of our faith and trust in, being dishonest with us?
The Fourth of July has sparked an interesting topic, because it’s set for celebration, but there’s not much to celebrate this year. Colorado already has a firework ban set for obvious reasons and now we don’t have much of a government to celebrate. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s hard to be happy when things are far from alright.
We’re still the home of the brave, but maybe not quite the land of the free, something I think that Edward Snowden might agree with as he continues to escape the grasp of the United States government. Regardless of your political affiliation or moral perspective, I think collectively more people are starting to applaud the recent leaks about our government’s distrust in us.
Our private conversations might not be as private as we thought and the NSA might have already seen this before you do. I am not a threat to national security but the fact my private information could be screened legally, which defies the amendments put in place to protect our privacy, is a threat to national security. It seems like the government is more concerned with their own security rather than our security.
Is this the transparency that the government has promised us? We should be the ones with the ability to monitor the government’s actions. If not us then our elected representatives should, but it seems like our shield laws are facing the wrong way and shielding the wrong people. When truth lies in the hands of the “leakers,” and not the people we elect, we are not celebrating independence but a very fragile sense of freedom.
Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden. These are the names of three people who, after discovering secrets that are bigger than themselves and their own interests, have risked everything in the name of transparency. At just 22-years-young, an army private stationed in the middle of the desert was given access to hundreds upon hundreds of documents classified “Top Secret”. What he saw within those documents was overwhelming and shocking It’s hard to fathom what exactly was going through Manning’s head at the time, but it’s hard to not feel some level of compassion for what he ultimately did. He took those documents, and one shocking video, and handed them over to Wikileaks and Julian Assange, who then published them for the world to see.
Assange and Manning stood for two common goals: to have government transparency and truth. Now on trial some three years later, “986 days longer than the legal maximum”, as Julian Assange pointed out, Manning faces a possibility of life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy. It’s almost hard to say that Manning will be given a fair trial especially after considering the abuse and unfairness he received while incarcerated. The government is set to make an example out of him, and they would do the same to Assange, if they could ever get their hands on him.
Now the government is chasing another “leaker”, charging former NSA employee Edward Snowden with espionage. What is espionage, you ask? It’s a systematic use of spies to obtain secret information from a competitor, or enemy. Wait a second; was not the information that Snowden released actual documentation of our own government collecting telephone and Internet data, or spying, on its own people? Wouldn’t that then mean that the government considers us to be a competitor, or enemy? Oh, the irony.
Snowden is now essentially on the run from his own government, who hopes to catch him and make an example of him, much like with Manning. “Don’t tell our people who elected us what we are doing. That’s the media’s job, that’s why we pay them!” That’s what it seems like our government is telling these information leakers and the public that they swear to serve. They don’t want their actions to be transparent, because their actions are immoral and terrifying. Or that’s what we are told. Transparency is essential for trust; going after people who risk it all to expose the truth, is untrustworthy.