"Americans are familiar with stories of dissidents fleeing repressive regimes such as those in China or Iran and seeking asylum in the United States. Snowden is in the opposite position. He’s an American leaving the land of his birth because he fears persecution."
No. Snowden doesn't fear persecution, he fears prosecution!
I don't like the government of this country spying on its citizens, in fact, it makes me very angry. Even though Snowden isn't telling us something we didn't already know, just knowing the sheer scope of this program, that there's no accountability, warrantless spying, secret courts, jerks a knot in my chain!
That said, the law is the law and he knew the consequences of his actions. Every day we all face choices, some of them are very tough choices and it is those that quite often have the harshest consequences, which is why the choices are so hard to make in the first place. When we make a tough choices and finally do what we believe is the right thing, which isn't always easy, we have to accept the consequences.
Snowden believes what he did was noble and perhaps history will look back on this and decide that it was, but in the meantime, he broke the law, and there are consequences for that and he should face them like a man. He should return to the US, get himself a good lawyer, tell his story to 60 Minutes and stand up for himself, even if it means going to jail in the end. If he truly believes he was right, he needs to fight. But hiding out in a foreign country and seeking asylum from the US (for fear of retaliation) is in my opinion, disgraceful. People are acting as if he can't come back to the US. Oh yes, he can return to the US but....he has to face the consequences upon his return.
He's not willing to do that.