Politics in Uniform

When I went through Basic Training one thing that was explained to us was that any kind of partisan political activity while in uniform was absolutely forbidden.  No taking opinion polls, no campaigning for candidates, or any other kind of overt political activity that implies, or appears to imply official sponsorship of one side or another of a political issue.

That includes not showing up at political rallies wearing a uniform unless one has official duties that require one to be present (like, say, the President’s Marine Corps guard detail).

That was 35 years ago.  The basic policy has not changed.

From the Army’s web site:

That’s not to imply, however, that military members and civilian employees can’t participate in politics. In fact, DOD has a longstanding policy of encouraging members to carry out the obligations of citizenship, officials said. DOD encourages its military and civilian members to register to vote and vote as they choose, they said. Both groups can sign nominating petitions for candidates and express their personal opinions about candidates and issues.

However, officials emphasized, they can do so only if they don’t act as, or aren’t perceived as, representatives of the armed forces in carrying out these activities.

Beyond that, the list of do’s and dont’s differs depending on whether the employee is a member of the armed forces, a career civil service employee, a political appointee or a member of the career Senior Executive Service, officials said.

Military members, for example, may attend political meetings or rallies only as spectators and not in uniform. They’re not permitted to make public political speeches, serve in any official capacity in partisan groups or participate in partisan political campaigns or conventions.

They also are barred from engaging in any political activities while in uniform.

Then there’s this asshat:

rapone-600x375

Army Ranger, West Point Graduate, and now Infantry Officer.

While I may disagree with his twitter posts under the handle “Commie Bebop”, those, at least were done at one remove from being “in uniform”.  One might question whether a series of posts/tweets on the same topic might constitute “public political speeches” but as a First Amendment near-absolutist, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt there.  It’s not in uniform and doesn’t even give the appearance of implying any kind of official sanction.  His beliefs?  Well, I doubt they are compatible with honorably serving his commission but, again, I would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he actually demonstrated through his actions that his beliefs are incompatible with honorable service.

But in uniform at a military (including military academy) event?  That’s a clear violation.  Indeed, that the very demonstration that his beliefs are incompatible with honorable service.  He needs to be court martialed and discharged with something other than honorable (I won’t hold out for a dishonorable–I want him gone and without the benefits of those who serve honorably more than I want sanctions beyond that.  I won’t even hold out for a prison sentence although one is applicable–let’s not make him more of a martyr for the anti-American Left to celebrate).

Of course the usual suspects will bleat about “First Amendment” and “Right of Conscience” (Hey, he’s not being asked to bake a cake).  Those who have served in the military know that Freedom of Speech is limited.  Try saying “Our commander is an utter moron, unfit to lead a marine to a whorehouse, let alone a company into battle” and see where that gets you. (You folk currently serving know that would be a bad idea, right?)

This crosses the line so this disgrace to the Uniform needs to go.  He can go with public panapoly or he can softly and silently vanish away, but he needs to be gone.

 

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20 thoughts on “Politics in Uniform”

  1. Tweets of his have been found making disparaging remarks about the President, Vice President and Secretary of Defense. That’s a big no no, in or out of uniform.

  2. my father, his father, and his grandfather all attended and graduated West Point. I have walked the grounds and visited the tooms many times (yes, I have family buried there). This guy is a charlatan, and his mere mocking warrants enough. Dishonorable discharge should be his best option.

    I would prefer Fort Levenworth.

  3. I agree completely: the most important thing is to separate him from the service immediately under less than honorable conditions. No way should he be leading troops, nor should any service member have to serve under him. A court martial is appropriate, but risks making him a martyr, which any jail sentence would surely do. Revoke his degree from West Point. Explore whether he can be subjected to an Honor Court. Bottom line is he needs to forfeit all rank, pay and allowances, and be permanently barred from any office of profit or trust under the United States.

    1. Yes, I agree with the article. He needs to be separated, and not honorably. I would go for the Bad Conduct or Less Than honorable discharge. It is between the General Discharge (which is still considered partly honorable, like a section 8) and the dishonorable (generally reserved for hard crimes, desertion in a combat theatre, or betraying secrets). It would also void any kind of VA benefits. I would also void his academy degree, and make any classes there ineligible as credits for any other colleges.

  4. No body yet has looked into that CIB metal, all his other metals, his airborne metal what gives what has happen to this guy??. Is this a joke or what. If communism is his preference then why did he join the US Army and fight for our freedom in the first place?.

  5. I’m thinking a Big Chicken Dinner (for the uninitiated, a Bad Conduct Discharge) is more appropriate, and just as easy/free from blowback.

    That said, this screams of institutional rot. There’s simply no way that his peers and immediate superiors didn’t know about this asshat. That he wasn’t already dealt with, tells me that there was pressure from higher that he not be.

    Given Obama’s political purges of ranked officers, this might be the new normal without purging his loyalists in turn.
    (Just look at the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs using his position to lobby for the inclusion of transsexuals in the military for a glaring example.)

  6. I don’t want him discharged – yet. He needs to serve his 5 years as a E-1 Private – preferably in the middle of Kansas – and then dishonorably discharged.

    1. No he needs to be gone, otherwise he would just infect others, or start shooting people like Maj Hassan. Give him a Bad Conduct Discharge, just short of Dishonorable, that nullifies all VA benefits. Void his academy degree, and no class on the transcript can be used in any other college for any credit.

  7. This might be an attempt to dodge his service obligation. What does it take to invalidate his degree? A West Point degree on a resume could easily mask a BCD.

  8. As part of his DD, or Less than honorable, make him pay back the cost of his West Point education. with no bankruptcy ploy or ant other wiggle room. I’d also opt for a court martial and a DD. Then as a felon, he can’t vote for Che.

  9. This POS USMA grad Spenser Rapone should immediately be deported to any nation of his choice and stripped of his citizenship. He should never, ever be allowed to step foot in the USA or any of its possessions.
    He should be given a free one way airplane ticket to ease his journey.

    Communists have murdered more people than any other ideology in the history to the world; yes, more than Hitler’s forces – this includes military and civilian dead.

    Cheer leading for communism is as bad as cheer leading for Hitler. Imagine if this POS was wearing a Hitler T-shirt and written in his cap was a swastika.
    So why should it be any different if he demonstrates communist sympathies?

    A-holes like him, the leaders of BLM and ANTIFA, and the top 100 officials in the CPUSA and top leaders of the KKK and American Nazi Party should be all rounded up and deported – as should that muslim-pigess Linda Sarsour and her ilk.
    Yep DEPORTED !!
    ALL of these folks, if god forbid obtained power, would engage in mass exterminations, impose slave labor and resort to gulags to imprison, place in bondage or murder anyone whom they consider to be Kulaks, Untermensch, enemies of the state and other assorted undesirables.

    These folks have a very, very deep and profound hatred of the USA, the Constitution, our history and economic system and they support and encourage ideologies that have a well defined history of mass murder and enslavement. Their presence here in the USA will ONLY lead to chaos, turbulence and violence.

    The have zero interest in trying to improve things here in the USA or in helping folks; they merely wish to impose their murderous, tyrannical ideology upon all of us. After all, their “heroes” are Stalin, Castro, Che, Hitler , Mao – a group of mass murderers and killers.

    DEPORT the A-hole Spenser Rapone, and all his fellow travelers. NOW!!!!
    After all, they really would welcome deportation because it would allow them to leave a country they hate.

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