Do we really want the NSA or any government agency collecting our private emails or knowing what information we seek via Internet browsers? Can we trust that our cell phones aren’t tapped? Can it still be the case that Islamic terror threats are such that we are willing to accede to such a devastating loss of freedom? Why, indeed, did the U.S. Congress in the first place allow such an abomination as the Patriot Act—with its abridgments of the Bill of Rights—to pass into law, and why hasn’t it long ago been replaced by less egregious measures? These questions will have answers, but they can’t be happy ones.

It’s time for every genuine patriot to stand up to this obvious federal abuse of power, and to try to understand why and how we’ve let our fundamental rights be so terribly abused. Perhaps we might begin by giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Edward J. Snowden? It was, after all, meant for citizens who make “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States.” I can think of worse ways to begin to repair this damage.