This question seems to have a simple answer:
1. When in uniform, refrain from political speech. This is the standard.
2. Everyone on RallyPoint is representing him/herself as a Service-member.
3. So, there should be no "political speech" on RallyPoint.
What are the more nuanced views out there?
EDIT: Retired SMs and Veterans (no longer serving) are not covered under UCMJ and therefore fall under the full protection of the First Amendment; thanks to everyone for bringing this point to light.
Also, I think Reserve SMs cannot be held liable for political speech when they are not in a duty status, which is quite different from active duty SMs. The gray area of social media remains, in which we represent ourselves as SMs regardless of our contemporaneous duty status. Personally, I would never want my social media speech to be the subject of an Article 15, GOMR, or court-martial. My goal in this discussion is to get people to share views on how far the boundaries go.
Edited 5 y ago
Posted 5 y ago
Absolutely there should be political discussion. The caveat is that it should always be respectful of the members of our CoC, which includes POTUS regardless of our sundry opinions of him. If you're representing the military, you should have the same professional deference for the CinC that you would have for your CO.
Political discussions are a slippery slope. What may start out as meaningful, insightful and thought-provoking, can very easily spiral downward into bashing, personal attacks and conduct unbecoming. Some folks are very passionate about their political views. Passionate posts can be received and interpreted many ways. Personally, I do not believe that this is the proper forum to discuss politics. Granted, I have chimed in from time to time on those type of discussions, but I try not make it a habit. Political discussions can bring out the worst in some people. And in this day in age, with the amount of media exposure Soldiers are getting for "stepping on it" on social media, I believe it is better to error on caution and pass on those political discussions.
I would hope that common sense prevails in this case. While no one can take away the right to have a personal opinion, we all must bear in mind that the word 'personal' is juxtaposed with opinion. You're entitled to that opinion. In a forum such as this or any forum that is connected (however loosely) back to DOD, standards and ethics apply to each service member. Sometimes I have to remember that just because I can does not mean that I should. Expressing a political opinion may not always accomplish what you intended but could create a worse situation for you in the long run. I would leave the 'politics' at the door & keep RallyPoint's purpose intact. RallyPoint's purpose states that it was created to help make military life better & connects its members to give them the best tools possible to succeed both while in the military, and beyond.
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