Teaching Free Speech and Political Literacy in an Authoritarian Age
← xii | xiii →FOREWORD
Tongues Tied: How Teachers Learn What not to Say
Ursula A. Kelly
In the summer of 2013, following massive leaks by National Security Agency (NSA) whistle blower Edward Snowden that reverberated worldwide, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter commented to CNN:
[Snowden] obviously violated the laws of America, for which he’s responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far…I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial. (Watkins, 2013)
In a stunningly refreshing addendum to these comments only a couple of weeks later at a closed event in Atlanta, Georgia, Carter was quoted by Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s leading newspapers, as saying, “America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time” (Wing, 2013). Such comments, made by a respected Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president about one of the most significant security breaches in US history—comments that challenged the White House stance—were given no serious or prolonged consideration by mainstream American press. Instead, despite their consistency with Carter’s earlier statements, their accuracy was undermined by questions about the accuracy of the German translation and the absence of U.S. media at the event at which Carter spoke. These avoidance tactics pre-empted an← xiii | xiv → important conversation and created a missed opportunity...
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