When Dick Cheney slithered out of his cave Sunday to call Edward Snowden a traitor - a claim, given its slimy source, Snowden promptly called "the highest honor you can give an American" - it was only the latest in an ongoing, vengeful, bizarre and often irrelevant campaign of vitriol by politicians, pundits and much of the mainstream press against a guy who, regardless of his personal flaws, strengths or story, has indisputably "done something brave and worthwhile." And the best commentary pushes past the distracting, mud-slinging, name-calling, Up-Close-and-Personal debris to capture that kernel of truth.
"Few Americans believe that they live in a police state; indeed many would be outraged at the suggestion. Yet the everyday fact that the police have the right to monitor the communications of all its citizens – in secret – is a classic hallmark of a state that fears freedom as well as championing it."
"Such extravagant and bizarre levels of vitriol can mean only one thing. When politicians and rich pundits all join together to deliver a very public beat down, the victim of the beating is probably someone who did the people a great service."
"The man who made a calculated decision to risk everything he has in order to reveal the NSA's secret spying program, did something heroic. You don't have to believe Edward Snowden himself is a grand hero, or a larger-than-life figure....Without Snowden's act, the public's knowledge of what is being done to them in their own name would be much poorer."