I swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” This oath remains in full force for me, decades after I took it.
Marine Sergeant Sergeant Gary Stein, who is much in the news of late, took a similar oath, with the added proviso that he would
“obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
This is where Sgt Stein has run aground: we are also required to keep a civil tongue in our heads about our civilian leaders, even though we may privately think they are not worthy of our service.
Sgt. Stein had, apparently, posted some rather uncivil things about the CinC, Barack Obama. Now any reader of my blog knows I’ve little but disdain for Obama. But he is the Commander-In-Chief. As such, the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires those in uniform to meet certain standards of civility towards their officers, very much including the CinC, which, in the opinion of the Corps, Stein did not meet.
Now the Right, of which I’m a proud dues-paying member (that ol’ VRWC Hillary spoke of) is up in arms since Stein has been charged (I’m assuming; haven’t seen the briefs) with violating Article 88, Contempt toward Officials.
The battle cry is that Stein has had his First Amendment rights trampled. Well, as much as I sympathize with Stein’s sentiments, it appears he violated his oath of office. Especially if he did portray Obama as a jackass. Jackass Obama may be, but I can say that: I’m not in uniform.
The oath is sacred, Sergeant. I hope you get the very best legal defense, but honor requires us to obey those appointed as our superior officers. Even if we don’t and can’t respect them. And, when you took the oath, you voluntarily surrendered some of your First Amendment rights to free speech.