Political Correctness while at USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by nbbgolfcmdr, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    I've been wandering about possible restriction whenever we'll take the Oath when we get to the Academy.

    I have a friend you enlisted in the National Guard, and they've told me that since they're a soldier now, they cannot say anything negative about the President of the United States or any of the government's dealings.

    Well, I've found that sometimes, the information received isn't the most accurate, and I'm wandering, whenever we're in the Academy, and President Obama becomes our Commander in Chief, are we restricted to voicing our personal opinions?

    I wouldn't think so since the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but I would understand if there was a limitation...if that makes sense. Thanks!
     
  2. js3486

    js3486 Parent

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    The realty is that as a uniformed member of the Military criticism is strongly discouraged toward politics or public policy. You can still have an opinion, you can even voice it just not on base and/ or in uniform.
     
  3. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    Article 88, UCMJ - “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    You can do a quick Google search for all the details. Just giving the facts - not if/how much/when/why any of this would be actually enforced.
     
  4. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Sadly I will report that I have personally been involved with an officer who was charged under Article 88 during the administration of a previous President.

    The individual was treated VERY "gently"; he was removed from the service by "discharge" and not dismissal.

    Tossed out all his years of service for about a 2 minute diatribe in the presence of WAAAAY too many folks, while in uniform.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  5. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    Wow. Well, does this mean direct "threats" against people in the government, 'cause that's not what I'm referring too. In fact, I'd just as soon confront those people--certain respect and consideration is due.

    Or, are we talking about opinions about the going ons in government? I'm not trying to start a debate here, so I'll make that clear right now. But I'm sure everyone does have an opinion on the matter. Can you say, "I can't believe they're considering that?"
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    MOST people here take the view that disagreeing with the wisdom of a policy or a political philosophy is acceptable. When you start ranting about the individual, or go overboard on a political rant--that's when eyebrows start to raise.
    Also realize, cadets are viewed mostly as a "peer group" and we complain a lot. Criticism is fairly widely accepted here, but there are limitations and exceptions.

    Examples:
    If I said, "I think Congressman so-and-so's policy on tort reform is a bad idea." That wouldn't be viewed negatively by most.

    If I said, "The Secretary of the Interior is a no good ____ ____ who has no ____ clue about X, Y, and Z." That might cause some problems.

    See the difference?
    Obviously, the audience matters too! A group of cadets in the dorms can say pretty darn near what they want, as long as none of them get too offended. Start posting stuff on your blog or during an interview, and the results might be different!
     
  7. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    common sense for 500
     
  8. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    You take an oath of office to support and defend the constitution and our chain of command is always topped by civilian leadership. If it was the other way around we would just be another banana republic.
     
  9. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    A place where I can buy clothes, that would be awesome :shake::wink::wink:
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Excellent comparison!

    The example: "If I said, "The Secretary of the Interior is a no good ____ ____ who has no ____ clue about X, Y, and Z." That might cause some problems."
    is particularly good.

    The officer I described went on a 2 minute tirade about the POTUS and used this type of statement, MANY TIMES over, and in the presence of both junior and senior officers.

    Career ending.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  11. cv64

    cv64 Member

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    And now he is a member of congress :shake:
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    raimius said it best. Remember too, that yo are also a citizen. Which means when November comes rolling by and it's time to vote, you have just as much say so in your vote as anyone else. And you are expected to exercise that right.

    Wanna get me RILED up? Let's talk about all the people who complain about the president, congress, laws, etc... and yet they don't vote. Wanna REALLY get me RILED UP? Let's talk about military members who who talk about how they've always wanted to serve their country and to protect the constitution; and THEY DON'T VOTE. Obviously the RIGHT to VOTE as with anything means that you also have the RIGHT not to vote. Obviously, it can't be a right if it's forced upon you. However, I am not shy and will make it perfectly clear, right now. If we're discussing such things as politics in general, policies, etc.... and our like or dislike for such laws/policies; (Which you are indeed allowed to have feelings and opinions for); the first question I will ask is: "Who did you vote for?" or "How did you vote on that topic?" If you say you "Didn't Vote", then please walk away. Don't talk to me. Your opinion means absolutely NOTHING to me. Even if you happen to agree with me on the topic at hand. I do NOT respect your opinion or feelings.

    I have seen way too many good people through the years give their lives, the ultimate sacrifice, so you and everyone else could have your rights. And the most important of ALL rights, is the right to vote and change those who are in charge. And if you don't vote; even with B.S. excuses like.... "All the candidates are the same..... I don't like any of them....... Absentee voting is a PITA.........." , then you SPIT on the graves of every American service man or woman who served before you and gave their life.

    So, to the original poster. Yes, you are allowed to disagree. You can even disagree with the officers appointed over you. You are allowed to have opinions. However, there is a time when you are speaking when it's your personal opinion, and there's a time where you are representing the service and the uniform you wear. And because the "Press" cares more about sensationalism than they do the truth, you really need to stay away from them. Meaning, don't go to protests. Don't do things in uniform. etc... Usually, if you do all your disagreeing, complaining, biotching, etc.... "WITH THE FAMILY"; meaning your military family, then it's cool. You're also allowed to contact your congressman and senator and express your opinion. You're allowed to contact the president and express your opinion. Please, contact all of them. But if you do ANYTHING publicly, where the possibility arises where YOUR opinion can be CONFUSED with it representing the opinion of THE WHOLE MILITARY, then you've go a problem. You might say.... "That's just MY opinion", but if it becomes "public", there's going to be SOMEONE who sees/reads your opinion and says, "That's the MILITARY's opinion". That's where the line has been crossed. Because the "Military" has to support those appointed over them. Even if they disagree.

    But your #1 means of agreeing, disagreeing, expressing your opinion, etc... is to VOTE. Next means is to contact your representative, senator, and the president with your concerns. If you DON'T VOTE or do these things, then personally; I don't want to hear why or any excuses. I have NO, let me say again NO respect whatsoever for you. Mind you, this is an academy forum. 99% of all individuals that these posts apply to aren't old enough to vote, or weren't old enough to vote during their last election. Well, you're aware of it NOW. You know when you'll be 18. Find out NOW about registering and voting absentee. About local elections and issues. About this November when the house is coming up for re-election. If you DON'T VOTE, then all your other arguments about expressing your opinions, feelings, etc... about the country means absolutely nothing to me. Maybe to others, but not to me. I can't respect someone who spits on the graves of military members who died to keep our constitution and rights alive for them, and yet they don't use/exercise those rights. Good luck. mike....
     
  13. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.
    Joseph Stalin
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Wow!

    If you take NOTHING out of Mike's excellent response other that this: But if you do ANYTHING publicly, where the possibility arises where YOUR opinion can be CONFUSED with it representing the opinion of THE WHOLE MILITARY, then you've go a problem.

    Then you will have completely understood the proper way to handle this and MANY more situations!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Argggg. Sorry folks. Didn't mean to go nuclear on the topic. But when you boil it down to it's basics, why does our military exist, it comes down to protecting our rights. The constitution. And when people don't exercise their rights, then I feel that everything WE as military members have done to "Protect and defend the constitution" has been in vain. And for a MILITARY MEMBER to not exercise their right is even more of a slap in the face to their brothers/sisters who serve and have served. Sorry again for getting so emotional. mike...
     
  16. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    Thank you guys. I understand the concept of to not to anything in uniform, and CAP has the same regulations.

    The individual I was referring to made it sound like they couldn't say anything, anywhere to anybody. I just didn't know how it would be taken overall at the Academy, so thank you for all of the information.

    Curiosity settled.
     

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