A great debate is occurring in our country right now regarding the rights of African Americans, especially when it comes to interactions with law enforcement. It is dividing our nation like very few other issues have in recent decades.
Along with the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the more high profile aspects has been the rise of silent protests among professional athletes who have refused to stand during the National Anthem. This action has now spread to the armed forces, where it is more than an issue of civility and manners, it is a question of law. Now a sailor has refused to stand for the National Anthem, and she may be in very serious trouble.
Janaye Ervin posted a comment on her Facebook account explaining why she refused to stand for the raising of an American flag. For most people, this would be a matter of personal conscience and freedom of expression, however, Ervin is not most people.
The eight year Navy veteran and Intelligence officer is beholden to the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. It requires certain behaviors and prohibits others. And it provides measures of discipline for service members who break those rules.
All military personnel are strictly prohibited from engaging in political actions while in uniform, and all personnel are required to stop whatever they are doing and salute the flag whenever they hear the National Anthem. These are basic rules, that any service person would be familiar with, and Ervin has broken both rules deliberately.
However, while she is indeed facing charges for her transgressions, and has already lost her security clearance, a bigger issue being raised is whether or not she was right to do what she did.
Many people on the internet have weighed in, and not surprisingly, they tend to feel very strongly that she has broken a sacred trust.
“You reap what you sow. If she doesn’t respect the flag and the sacrifices made, then why did she join the service? Free Healthcare and pay. Cry me a river”- Debbie Starling
“I don’t know if I would discharge her but I sure would Article 15 her and bust her down a grade and dock half a month’s pay, not too mention I would have her on the flag detail for reveille and taps as extra duty”- James McCall
“Dishonorable Discharge and full loss of benefits.”- Larry G. Conner
“She should get a dishonorable discharge. You’re not an individual in the military. Your part of a team and you need to support your team at all cost.”- Alvin T. Case
“She on her own accord and knowing full well the consequences of her actions did willfully disobey Rules and Regulations regarding Military Personnel, her act is unforgivable…”- Lou C. Fisher
“The Navy has taken steps to ensure such a situation will not arise again.” This idiot, in her profanity laced rant, acknowledged she knew her action was in violation of the codes of conduct…”- Mike Spielvogel