Edward Snowden is stuck in Russia. In his mind he cannot return to America because he will be tried for treason and he doesn't want to face the US Government's retaliation against his leaks. There is a lot of talk about weather or not Snowden is a patriot.
John Kerry doesn't think he is a Patriot and I have to agree with himn:
“If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we’ll have him on a flight today,”... “We’d be delighted for him to come back. And he should come back, and that’s what a patriot would do.” ... “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust in the American system of justice. But to be hiding in Russia, an authoritarian country, and to have just admitted that he was really trying to get to Cuba, I mean, what does that tell you, really? I think he’s confused. I think it’s very sad.” (found via the Wall Street Journal)
To me patriots fight for the nation as a whole, not just the government of the nation, but to be a patriot you must believe in the system for which you are fighting. Snowden no longer trust his own nation to do the right thing, so I don't count him as a patriot, just a man who made some patriotic acts. However, I think he does have the potential to be a great patriot with the right political moves.
There is a lot to be said about Snowden's patriotism. Firstly we the public all must confirm that Edward Snowden has done some serious wrong doing along with his whistle blowing. Snowden was a spy, that is certainly not a 'good' person's job, part of the job description is crossing the line and still living with yourself, thankfully he couldn't live with it, but he still was a part of the problem. Conversely, Snowden also shed light on some of the greatest civil right's injustices of my generation. As a techy I think of him like I thought of Martin Luther King Jr as a child, "wow he is so right", "wow he has guts", "Obviously he is going to jail for that". I am so thankful to Snowden for bringing light to these massive flaws in the American government, but he will go to jail! Not that he should go to jail, not that going to jail would be justice for him, just that our Government has no better way of dealing with people like MLK Jr and Snowden. The US Government doesn't have a good whistle blower protection. Our laws are flawed and sometimes we must break the laws to expose the problems with them.
Heres my advise to Snowden, read A Song of Fire and Ice or watch Game of Thrones, then find your Stannis Baratheon so you can play the role of Davos Seaworth. Realize that you need to be punished as well as praised. your action were not without fault, own up to your actions both good and bad. Don't forget, your actions probably got American spies killed. Leaks at that level usually cause strange side effects, be mournful! Realize that what you did was a category well above MLK Jr's civil disobedience then face the music. I think the American public will love you all the much more for it, and it will show others that you are a true American patriot. You'll do some time in jail but then you'll get pardoned because of the public outcry in your defense. Kids might not get the day off of school in your name, but the nation as a whole might be called to action in such a way that you will never be forgotten.
My recommendation for Snowden is also to wait for calmer seas. The Obama administration hates Snowden because he made them look so terribly evil. I thought Obama was doing alright until I heard about these leaks. Snowden should wait for a new administration that will work for the changes he championed.