Hero or Villain: Snowden should be seen as a national hero because he exposed the injustice of the American government

Refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus in 1955, Rosa Parks made history. She was arrested for what was considered civil disobedience. Years later, she is regarded as a national hero and an activist in the Civil Rights Movement that lead to greater equality for American citizens.

Releasing classified information about Federal government surveillance programs last year, Edward Snowden is making history. He is looked upon with scorn by much of the country for the same reason Rosa Parks was, for exposing a great injustice forced upon American society.

Times have changed since 1955, but injustice is still forced upon American people by their own government. Snowden should be credited for giving the American people the opportunity to see for themselves the true, ulterior motives behind the agenda of the federal government and its agencies like the National Security Agency.

Snowden’s actions were intended to aid Americans. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, not the land of cowards and the home of the federally surveyed. Snowden should not be punished for keeping Americans informed and protecting their rights.

Supporters of punishment for Snowden argue there were better ways to release the information about spying programs to the public than through the media, possibly using political influences in Congress to help. These members of Congress had the opportunity to expose the federal government and their spying, but chose to keep Americans in the dark, neglecting the right to privacy. Snowden should be welcomed to America as a hero and those turning their heads from justice to protect a fancy capitol hill job should be exiled as villains.

Those against Edward Snowden’s actions might also claim he put Americans at risk as the information he released could be used by terrorists. However, in this situation, Snowden has only exposed that Americans should fear the government and their willingness to invade the privacy of citizens and the privacy of other allied nations.

A hero like Snowdenshould not be exiled to Russia, but recorded in history as aiding Americans in a time when injustice occurred. One day, like Rosa Parks and the many other creators of change and justice of the past, Snowden will be able to return to America as the national hero his actions deserve and given a place in history.