There are many things wrong with what United States Marine Corps Sergeant Gary Stein has been doing. In case you missed this piece, Sgt. Stein has created a Facebook page where he has posted comments that are critical of the president. But that’s not the problem. Military personnel that are not in uniform are normal people, too, and enjoy the same rights and privileges that all other Americans do, like the right to express their opinions on political matters. However, Sgt. Stein called his page “Armed Forces Tea Party”; a title which, seemingly elevates his opinions, and makes it sound like his beliefs and statements reflect the viewpoint of the U.S. military. (Sergeant Stein also disregarded his Marine traditions. He needs to reread his “Fundamentals of Marine Corps Leadership.” I wonder how he would feel if his privates were to criticize him on social media for the entire world to see?)
Make no mistake – what this sergeant did is wrong. It’s not wrong for any civil rights reasons. Again, he’s allowed to express his opinion, as Marine Corps officials have stated, as long as it’s not in a manner that makes his comments seem representative of the Marines. There’s a good reason for this: something called liberty.
To explain, first, understand that it’s only been a recent trend that we’ve had anything like a large standing army. And, no doubt, as soon as the wars are over, we’ll trim those forces back down. We do this because our forefathers knew that it could be a very bad thing to have a large military on domestic soil. And they knew a politically-motivated military would be even worse. To make this even clearer, it’s very bad to have an ideological force as armed and powerful as the military, lest we have a coup. This is the same reason that Major Nidal Hassan was able to execute a massacre at Fort Hood. None of the other soldiers were armed. We don’t arm our military on our own soil. It’s dangerous for freedom.
And just the same, it’s dangerous and totally inappropriate for Sgt. Stein to post anti-commander-in-chief sentiments, especially when they are politically aligned and he associates them with the military. That’s not to say that the Tea Party is a dangerous party (although, some of you PolicyMicers might disagree). It is to say that a political party of the military is a dangerous thing.