If you went home and posted offensive and insulting comments about your boss on your Facebook page, there is no doubt that you would be fired if caught. Your peers might even say you were asking for it, because nobody is ignorant enough to disrespect their boss on a public forum without acknowledging the consequences.
However, Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and active marine, argues that he should not be on the verge of discharge from the military for posting derogatory comments about his boss on Facebook. His boss, might I add, happens to be the commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama. Still, Stein claims that it violates his freedom of speech and there is no reason he should be punished for voicing his opinions.
Nonetheless, Stein deserves to be discharged from the military and the rights of the First Amendment cannot excuse his actions. In the case of the military, the line for freedom of speech changes, which Stein undoubtedly was well aware of at the time when he posted on Facebook. Still, Stein exercising his freedom of speech was not the problem. The problem was what he said.
Not only did Stein call Obama a “domestic enemy” and a coward, but he even went as far as superimposing Obama’s face on the poster of the movie “Jackass.” These disrespectful comments were posted on his personal Facebook page and on “The Armed Forces Tea Party” Facebook page he created for thousands to see, according to CNN.
Stein could have bad mouthed the president all he wanted if he was a civilian, but he willingly gave up that right to some extent when he put on a uniform. Upon enlisting, Stein agreed to follow the rules of the U.S. Military, which contain regulations prohibiting certain partisan political speech.
In reality, members of the military are free to give their personal opinions about political candidates. Yet, Stein’s Facebook posts clearly outstep these complacent policies when he posted, “As an Active Duty Marine I say ‘Screw Obama’ and I will not follow all orders from him,” according to CNN.
The political beliefs of a member of the military cannot enter into the equation when it comes to performing their job, and like many marines will say, serving as a marine is a full-time job. Adding politics into the military is perilous. The military cannot be divided into different political sections.
The Marine Corps motto states “Semper Fi,” which means “always faithful.” This motto means that marines do not have a choice to be faithful or not depending on their opinion of the person giving orders.
Stein continues to argue that the 3-0 military panel ruling last week discharging him from the marines violates his free speech. His argument lacks any actual basis. The rights he originally waved are the same ones that are now being supposedly violated, though he willfully gave them up.
Our military must have strict discipline, training and utmost respect for the commander-in-chief. Dissent from orders cannot and should not be allowed. The U.S. may be a democracy, but the armed forces is not. Adherence and understanding of the chain of command and Uniform Code of Military Justice should not be comprised for any individual, including Stein.
Bottom line is that members of the military are not allowed to criticize the commander-in-chief on a public forum. They can wait until they are discharged to publicly voice their personal opinions about the current president, which should not be too long now for Stein. After his discharge, nothing will hold him back from posting Obama’s face on whatever movie poster he fancies — but “Jackass,” really? Show us a little more creativity next time around, Stein.