Let me finish tonight with this.
“When an American says he loves his country, he means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect”
That was how the great Adlai Stevenson sought to describe the love we have for this country - the freedom we feel - deep within us - the light and living sense of being able to get up each day and go to bed each night distanced from the power of the state.
And so we came to the case of Edward Snowden. Three quarters of the American people believe that the NSA surveillance system he exposed intrude on our privacy rights.
Rarely do we get this kind of verdict on political matters. But we’ve got one here. As patriotic as we are, as loyal to the republic, we don’t like it penetrating into that “inner” life we lead, that “inner light” where we can think, feel, speak to others of our most intimate views on life, love, politics - all the way from the affairs of the heart to the grandest affairs of the nation.
So it doesn’t surprise me that we’ve got mixed views of Edward Snowden now about to begin a year living in Russia.
The important point to me is not what Putin thinks of what this guy did but what we Americans think of what he told us our government is doing.
The latest verdict is that, by Adlai Stevenson’s definition of things, the government has gotten a little too much into our space.