The people who do this are heroes. They are the embodiment of heroism.But a lot of that talk went silent after Snowden's stint in Hong Kong followed by his suggestion that he was prepared to leak more documents to foreign journalists and then a trip to Russia.
All of this calls into question the whole idea of how we go about anointing heroes. That's why I found this statement by Greenwald to be fascinating.
“My grandfather...taught me that whatever skills you have should be devoted toward undermining the people who are the strongest and most powerful,” Greenwald said.Based on what I've seen from Greenwald over the years, that statement is a pretty clear reflection of his approach. But I think it also reflects a key problem for too many on the left...an aversion to power. Anyone with power is automatically suspect (ie, for Greenwald they are always liars). And anyone who attacks them is a hero.
That - in a nutshell - is what sparked the battle that became known in some quarters as the Obamasux vs the Obamarocks groups following the 2008 election. The latter saw Barack Obama's election as an opportunity for progressive change now that an imperfect but dedicated champion had gained power via a broad coalition of the electorate. To the former - he immediately became suspect as the wielder of that power.
The truth is that until the Obamasux crowd can reconcile themselves to the reality that power is needed to actually make the changes they seek, they will be confined to the privilege of cynicism. No matter who has gained political power (or how they got it), their heroes will be those who challenge that power. In doing so, they relegate themselves to perpetual victim status - always the underdogs in a battle against those who have the means to change things.
I've written before about how this reaction to power by many on the left is - at heart - rooted in the notion that power is always about dominance (power over) and a blindness to the power of partnership (power with). As liberals we have no need to fear the power of partnership. As a matter of fact, it is the fuel that has ignited every accomplishment the left has made in this country. My heroes tend to be those who recognize that kind of power and find ways to use it.