Why I asked Obama to Pardon Snowden

This may be a little off-topic for a running blog, but I think it’s important enough to write about.

But first, I want to start by celebrating some GREAT NEWS! My name was drawn in the lottery for Gorge Waterfalls 50k in April! I’m super stoked for the opportunity to run in what looks like an epic race!

I celebrated the news with an extended period of kitchen dancing in my slippers this morning. Bruce was very confused about the hooting and hollering. Usually he is the hyper one in the morning.

Now, the big question is… do I still register for the Yakima Skyline 50k I had my heart set on? It’s two weeks after the Gorge, and I still don’t know where I’ll be living come spring. Maybe I’ll just let those thoughts marinate for a minute.

Back to business…


Edward Snowden is a hero to me, so even before watching the Katie Couric interview a couple days ago, I decided to send a letter to President Obama urging his pardon.

As a journalist and all around advocate for TRUTH, Snowden is an incredible inspiration to me- the type of person that redeems my faith in humanity, if only for a heartbeat.

I’m not an expert on politics, or even an expert on Snowden. Beyond watching the interview linked above and Citizenfour, my only knowledge comes from what I remember hearing on NPR.

I’m just one (very smart) girl who was moved by the courage of this particular American to stand up for justice in a stirring maneuver that went down in history.

What follows is my opinion on points Snowden brought up in the Couric interview. [I’m stating this because I am a journalist, and was hard-wired to leave my opinion the fuck out of everything I write.]

On morality vs. law

In the interview, Couric brings up a Tweet by Donald Trump saying, “Call it any way you like, but Snowden is a traitor. When our country was great do you know what we did to traitors?”

Snowden responded by asking just when it was that Trump thought America was great, because, “If you remember what we did to traitors in 1776… we made them president. We’re a country that was born from an act of treason against a government that had run out of control.”

He continued to say, “We should always make the distinction that right and wrong is a very different standard than legal and illegal. The law is no substitute for morality.”

YES! Sometimes, laws are broken because they’re wrong and need to change. Cannabis is a prime example here, but I’m sure there are plenty. When I first “came out” about using cannabis in a very public way with my article in Outside, times were very different. It was only two years ago, but a lot has changed in those two years.

I remember the rush I felt when I hit SEND to submit that piece. I had no idea what was going to happen, and it was terrifying.

But do I regret it?

NO! Fuck no! A million times, NO!

After it was published, a friend, in a drunken moment of honesty, asked if I was embarrassed by that article.

Setting aside the swift urge to smack her in the mouth, I told her that I didn’t have a damn thing to be embarrassed about. If I didn’t think my words would be supporting a plant that’s helped me and tons of others survive, then I wouldn’t have written it.

But this is what happens when you take a stand. People freak out.



My point is, laws change. Your core morals should not be calibrated by crusty old lawmakers.

On Privacy

“Privacy is the foundation of all other rights. I would say, arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is the same as saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

Plenty of people say this. They don’t care about government surveillance because they’re “not doing anything wrong.”

Well, I care. Privacy is a very basic human right. I’m not judging anyone who legitimately doesn’t think this is a big issue, but I personally get grossed out when Facebook suggests ads for products that I was talking about while in the same room as my iPhone.

I can’t describe it other than to say that I can’t scrub hard enough in the shower to get the grimy feeling off my soul.

If the government is collecting data on everything we do, then freedom and independence are a joke.

I also give props to Snowden for refusing to name the colleagues he approached for help before leaking his story to the press. Good job on not throwing your homies under the bus, although I bet they’re sweating bullets.

How do you live with yourself keeping all those secrets?

I love Snowden’s quote, “what I’m proud of, is that every decision I’ve made can be defended.”

Which brings me to my next point…

On confidence

When Couric asked Snowden if he would change anything over the past three years, he doesn’t hesitate for a microsecond before affirming that he would absolutely go back and do it all again. No regrets.

He quotes our founding fathers, saying, “He who would sacrifice essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither.”

How many people are coping tirelessly with injustice because they’re afraid of what might happen if they stand up for themselves?

I know I do this sometimes. I’ve hung my head and swallowed my words when I or someone else was being treated unfairly. I do this out of fear, and it feels really bad.

It takes a whole sackload of balls to stand up for what’s right. It takes even more to do it in a very public way. Snowden stood up against the entire American Government.

Snowden said, “Some people live very careful lives, I haven’t done a good job of that.”

Fuck being careful. Where does that get you?

I have tremendous respect for great thinkers who push through the bullshit our government has us wrapped up in and make an effort to spread truth. We have a right to know what’s going on and I thank the brave pioneers who have risked everything to educate the public.

That said, I want to pay quick respect to Aaron Swartz. Thank you for your service, bold digital soldier.

So, these are some of the reasons I asked President Obama to Pardon Snowden. If you agree, you can do the same here.

Don’t be afraid to speak up!

2 thoughts on “Why I asked Obama to Pardon Snowden

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