Lynch mob mentality

As previously posted, the internetz have been all a-twitter over a blog post that shares the blogger's opinion (she's an active-duty spouse) that National Guard soldiers are not really soldiers. Along with the spouse's opinion, her husband (the active duty soldier) put forth his opinion in the comments, backing up what his wife had to say after she came under fire from several commenters.

The comments, pictures, and (now) the blog have been removed. It's my understanding that the soldier's command was contacted and he has been reprimanded. Which is all well and good, if you ask me. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Most people know the old saying - opinions are like...well, you know. The thing is that, when you swear that oath to protect and defend the Constitution, you suspend some of those rights for which you are fighting. One of them is free speech. What "The Hubs" said was rude (not the problem), ill-informed (not the problem), and narrow-minded (again, not the problem), but most of all it EMBARRASSED THE ARMY (bingo! We have a winner! THAT is the problem.)

"The Hubs" was reprimanded (or, should have been reprimanded) not for what his wife wrote on her blog but for what HE said on her blog. There are a lot of people up in arms over the Army censoring HER free speech but that's not what happened. It was HIS comment on her blog that drew the command's attention and the consequences he is facing. I can write pretty much whatever I want on this blog. I can criticize the President, Congress, my husband's chain of command, etc. And - TECHNICALLY - it is not supposed to cause a problem for my husband. Now you and I both know that's not how it really works but on paper, what I say and do should have no bearing on his career. I've been around long enough to know that, while it may not cause 'official' trouble for my husband, it sure as heck might bring 'unofficial' trouble. The Army is like any other employer - criticize your husband's boss and it's going to cause waves for him at work. It won't be anything official but he might see his name less frequently on the flight schedule and more frequently on the staff duty roster. Or small gaffes that might normally go without notice now draw scrutiny (and consequences) from the command. And so on. So, while I may have opinions - very STRONG opinions (those of you that know me are all nodding your heads in agreement. You can stop now.) - about certain things in the Army, I keep them to myself out of tact. And boy, does my tongue BLEED from biting on it!

There were many people - people I know and respect - who were treating this woman as if she needed to be tarred and feathered and this saddens me. Don't get me wrong - her blog post about lit my hair on fire but it was an OPINION. I have no problem going after the OPINION but when you start going after the person - the content of their character, their marriage, etc. - you've crossed the line. And many people seem to have done so with their comments about all of this. I get as passionate over things like this as the next person but when did the game change? When did we stop attacking the message and start attacking the messenger? When did we cast aside tact and professionalism and degrade into name-calling and insults? And I completely understand that - in pointing a finger, there are 3 pointing back at me. In my previous post, I voiced my opinion that "The Hubs" has an inferiority complex and that was going too far. It seems to me that his opinion comes from an inferiority complex but I don't know this man and have never met him. He might very well have a perfectly fine complex or none at all. I didn't take the time to let my emotions pass completely and I didn't stick to attacking simply the message. And for that, I apologize.

My hope is that everyone learns a lesson here. I hope that the wife whose blog post started all of this will, in time, learn that National Guard soldiers (as Mary pointed out in the comments on the post below) bleed the same color as Active Duty soldiers. I hope that she meets some INCREDIBLE National Guard families that cause her (and her husband) to rethink their opinions. I also hope that - through this mess - they meet some wonderful active duty families that will extend to them the grace that was sorely lacking from this brouhaha. And I also hope that whatever reprimand "The Hubs" received does not negatively impact his career in the long term. Discipline is to be used for teaching and, if he is booted out of the Army, he will not have the chance to prove that he's learned the lesson. And I hope that the rest of us are able to take a step back and realize that, while passion is natural, allowing that passion to override the basic tenants of respect and courtesy is never right.

"There, but for the grace of God, go I."
~ John Bradford


- hfs


Tracy S said...

I heartily agree with everything you have said here. She has strong opinions that angered a lot, but she is young and will learn. Tarring and feathering her would be a disservice to all.

Someone mentioned in the comments in your previous post that he needs a mentor. I agree. Same with "The Hubs." I hope the Army allows him to show he has learned his lesson--and maybe allows an older NCO to mentor him.

Thanks for pointing out that what got him in trouble were his comments and not his wife's. It's an important distinction.

It's too bad you live so far away from her--you would make a great mentor. You know, in all your spare time! ;o)

Homefront Six said...

Thank you for the kind words. I'm not sure that I am mentor material. Then again, I've never been one so I don't know. But thank you :)

Leslie said...

I have been awarded the "Liebster Blogg Award" and am passing it on to you as per the rulz - http://www.hellin-abasket.com/ive-been-awarded/