Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was discharged this week from the military for exercising his 1st Amendment Right of free speech. He was given an “Other Than Honorable” Discharge for negative comments he made about his Commander-In-Chief President Obama on Facebook. Sgt Stein lost most of his benefits with this discharge and has appealed the decision and the chance of a successful appeal is slim.
I agree with most of what Stein said, I am NO fan of Obama, but I agree he needed to be punished for his actions though I do feel he was punished too severely for his actions. I feel after 9 years of service to this country and only 3 months left on his contract he should have been allowed to keep all of his benefits and have an Honorably Discharge.
The rules are pretty black and white about the issue of military personnel not being allowed to make public political statements while in the service. This is a clear rule and he should have been punished but I believe that Stein was made an example of in this era of Social Media mistakes by military personnel and civilians alike. I think the fact that our President is overly sensitive when it comes to criticism came into play especially with Obama’s era of Big Brother Attack Watch Websites.
Stein was wrong doing what he did. We cannot have an effective and disciplined military if personnel are allowed to make Anti-Presidential political statements while on duty. I agree with the military rules that don’t allow military personnel to participate in political debates publicly while on active duty, unfortunately Social Media can be a huge catalyst for insubordination but I wish our military paid this much attention to Major Hasan before the Ft. Hood Massacre. It is ironic that our military fights and dies for our right to free speech yet they can’t exercise that right themselves while serving this Great Country but that is the way it HAS to be. This needs to be a lesson to everyone especially for young people that Technology and Social Media is great but it has to be used responsibly and there can be repercussions for statements made on Social Media. More and more Social Media is affecting the ability for people to get jobs, keep jobs and maintain relationships. Stein was punished too harshly in my opinion but he is now an example so hopefully we will all learn from it. I wish Stein the best of luck and I hope he considers a career in politics since he did serve his country well overall in the military besides this mistake. He lost his job in the military due to speaking his mind publicly about his political beliefs. I hope he doesn’t let those beliefs and passion go to waste if he feels so strongly about making them publicly and I hope he pursues a career in public service if that is what he wants. Mixing Social Media and your Career is like drinking and driving…not a good idea but God Bless Sgt. Stein and God Bless Our Troops who protect our Great Country!
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