Another (Former) Politician Who Remembers His Oath

Besides Jimmy Carter, there is at least one other former politician in America who remembers the oath of office that he took. Alas, he’s a Republican:

Former two-term GOP Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire emailed Edward Snowden yesterday:

Mr. Snowden,

Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.

Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion.

I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere.

Kindly acknowledge this message, so that I will know it reached you.

Gordon J. Humphrey
Former United States Senator
New Hampshire

Email exchange between Edward Snowden and former GOP Senator Gordon Humphrey

One of the sad ironies of this is that if this guy were running against either of my Senators, Murray or Cantwell, he’d have my vote for at least that election. Neither of my Senators, nor most of the other Democrats, have raised a peep about this issue. Maybe they feel they’re not informed enough to have an opinion, but at the very least they should be concerned about the obvious possibilities of tyranny and corruption implicit in a government agency listening in on its own citizens without any outside constraints. Since Humphrey is a Republican, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t agree with him on most issues of the day. But anyone who is concerned about this issue realizes that making our society better is something that won’t be done by secret agencies working beyond the supervision of anyone. That my Senators, and most of the others, seem to want to maintain that condition tells me that they’re really not interested in progress of any sort, whatever they might be saying on those issues.

I have to agree with Lambert Strether’s observation that progressives and liberals who aren’t willing to stand with folks like President Carter and Senator Humphrey aren’t worth very much, partly because they’re all too plentiful.

Being able to argue about issues without fear of retribution by our government is one of the most fundamental conditions for freedom. When our government seems hell-bent on making sure that condition never exists again, politicians who recognize this fact have priority over those who don’t, or won’t acknowledge it.