During a recent live stream interview, Edward Snowden was asked multiple different times about his thoughts on the results of the US election and each time in different ways he explained how the president does not really matter that much when it comes to policy.
When asked about the election, Snowden said:
“This is the thing I think we begin to forget when we focus too much on a single candidate. The current president of the United States, President Barack Obama, campaigned on a platform of ending mass surveillance in the United States. He said no more warrantless wiretapping. He said he’d investigate and end criminal activities that had occurred under the prior administration….And we all put a lot of hope in him because of this. Not just people in [the United States]…but people in Europe and elsewhere around the world. It was a moment where we believed that because the right person got into office, everything would change. But, unfortunately, once he took that office, we saw that he actually didn’t fulfill those campaign promises.”
He then made some extremely powerful comments, saying that:
“If we want to build or live or enjoy the fruits of a better world, if we want to make sure that the rights that we have encoded into our laws are actually reliable, that we live with them and pass them to our children, this will never be the work of politicians — this can only be the work the people, of the population.
If we want to see a change we must force it through ourselves, if we want to have a better world, we can’t hope for an Obama and we should not fear a Donald Trump, rather we should build it ourselves.”
When asked if the general population cared about the struggle for freedom that he has sacrificed so much for, Snowden responded by saying:
“I think that the fact that we have so many people in this room, that we have so many people tuned in on the internet, and that we have so many people talking about this election and its implications for the world, says that people do care. The difference is, many people have been convinced that there is nothing they can do about it. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we feel disempowered.
“It’s not that people think that Donald Trump is the greatest person in the United States, it’s the fact that maybe they did not prefer the other option. And this is a challenge that we should never be asked as a society to pick between one or the other, ‘do you want this or that?’
“We need to work cooperatively. We need to work together to build institutions that don’t think about candidates and don’t think about a choice of bad options. But, instead, give us a world that we design that we build that we realize step by step. You don’t just inherit the past and expect it to continue. You don’t just elect a politician with a vote. The challenge here is that that does not end the extent of your involvement, you are more than a vote, you are more than a check in a box. What you do today creates tomorrow and if you don’t start thinking about what you are going to do tomorrow, if you don’t start thinking about the day after the election, the year after the election, you are not thinking about what being a citizen truly means”
The whole interview can be seen below: