The head of South Carolina’s National Guard said Tuesday he will conduct an internal review of the Guard’s policy on social media use after Gov. Nikki Haley’s husband used Facebook to call members of the state Senate cowards for not voting on a bill favored by his wife.
Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston said he spoke with Michael Haley about the matter, and Michael Haley told the general he intended to express himself as a private citizen, not as a member of the Guard.
Michael Haley is an officer the South Carolina Army National Guard.
Sen. Jake Knotts, a Lexington Republican who has often clashed with Gov. Haley, called late Tuesday for Michael Haley to resign his commission if he can’t abstain from “contentious partisan issues.”
We’ve seen some clear cut cases wherein soldiers, particularly Guard and Reserve soldiers, have engaged in partisan political activity, which is inappropriate and prohibited by regulation. One prime example is the young soldier who, in uniform, addressed a Ron Paul rally.
But soldiers don’t forfeit their right to freedom of expression. And particularly in the case of Guard and Reserve soldiers, it is occasionally difficult to determine where the line is between a citizen exercising his rights, and a soldier engaging in prohibited partisan activities. I haven’t looked at this case in any detail, so the specifics of it are really beyond me.
But one of the great concerns expressed time and again is the growing gulf between the military and the citizenry. There was a time in the post war era that virtually every candidate for office could tout at least some form of military service. Do we really want to argue that politicians and their family members must distance themselves from military service?