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Tuesday, June 11, 2013




Tuesday, 8:30 AM.  55 degrees F, wind S, calm to very light.  The sky is partly cloudy, the barometer stands at 29.84 in., the humidity is 93%.  It is a nice morning and the grass needs to be mowed. 
   We had a nice visit at the wedding shower.  the old older folks appear to be aging gracefully and the young folks are busy with children, relationships, careers and all the challenges and concerns of youth.     
In conversation with the few young guys that were there and holed up out of the way with a couple of us old duffers, I found them smart, ambitious and perhaps a bit naive.  I am sure they found us dull, out of touch and somewhat jaded.  
   The trip back yesterday was uneventful, the only incident of note being a good sized bear sitting at the end of a driveway right in town in Woodruff; for all the world like a dog waiting for his master to come home.  No chance for a photo, though.
   Like most everyone else, I am trying to make sense out of the "leak" or whatever it may be called, of all the NSA secret plans, methods and operations, and whether the young man who did it, Edward Snowden, is a hero or a villain.  I have decided, unlike a lot of very high profile people who should know better, to reserve judgement until all the facts are out and some of the dust settles. If I were a twitter and a tweeter I would have immediately heralded him as a patriot; that's why I keep my fingers off the buttons.  
   Being undecided as how to view this latest crises, I decided to consult the highest authority on this sort of thing, Henry David Thorough, our earliest and most ardent American proponent of civil disobedience, who preached that in order to be a man, and a truly free one at that, one must follow one's conscience and higher moral authority by disobeying laws which the individual believes unjust.  Of course he did that as regards slavery and the Mexican war, refused to pay his taxes and spent a whole night in the town hoosegow, before a neighbor bailed him out.  I must note that he didn't face the prospect of rendition to a secret CIA black prison in Bulgaria.
   I must admit that I have had a hard time taking Thoreau very seriously ever since I discovered that his mother brought him his lunch while he was busy communing with nature in the wilds of Walden Pond, but he writes clearly and persuasively regarding civil disobedience, nonetheless. 
   After rereading that treatise I think I have come upon a rationale for judging the actions of Mr.  Snowden; if he surrenders himself willingly and accepts the verdict of a just jury of his peers in an American civil court I will consider him a hero of civil disobedience, an American Nelson Mandela; if he defects to a foreign power or seeks asylum indefinitely, or seeks profit from his actions in money or fame, I will believe him a villain, perhaps a traitor.
   But for all of that, it is a good thing that  this creepy, spooky spy stuff is coming at last to light.  Most of Congress professes to be in the know and approving of it, but they are after all the classic insiders along with the administration and the generals.  I certainly did not know the extent, at least, of this activity, and I will bet that you did not either, and I cannot help but think we are considered something less than citizens and free people by our overseers.   Henry David talked a good game a century and a half ago; I wonder what his level of courage would be today.

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