Sunshine on Travs needed
Thank you for your article on the recent firings by the Travelers (or, apparently, by Russ Meeks) ("Fans cry foul," Nov. 21). The Democrat had no coverage other than the party-line from the Travelers' office.
When I initially saw that it was the general manager and the person in charge of ticket sales who were let go, I was immediately suspicious that there had been some skimming or other financial mismanagement. Apparently, that is not the case.
Your article also made me think that it is highly unlikely that whatever procedures are specified in the Travelers' governance documents (e.g., the by-laws and/or personnel policies) were followed. I hope that Pete Laven and David Kay figure out some way to get this situation into the sunshine. Or I hope that the Times can do a follow-up.
From the web
Time will tell what the real reason for the firings was. It is disheartening that the members of the inner circle of Travs management either have no clue as to what happened or, worse yet, no curiosity as to what happened.
Or the inner circle is simply finding different ways to avoid anyone knowing what went on, why it happened, or, especially, how they do their business. They're not really that clueless. They're all separately avoiding a cogent response. Kind of like lodge brothers, they don't want anyone to know their secret handshakes.
Soldiers and social media
Frankly, I've had my fill of the often over-the-top Facebook treachery coming from many of today's servicemen, sadly, family included. It's apparently not about to stop just because the current source of their spite was overwhelmingly re-approved in a national election, either.
Yes, I hold you all to a slightly higher standard. When it comes to free speech, the military is most certainly unique. But, for what it's worth, I'm also the guy that stands up in public to sing about those like you that have defended my country, lets you cut in line ahead of me if I notice you're waiting, will come up to you randomly and shake your hand and thank you for your service, advocates for more assistance programs for returning veterans, and yes, even tears up just about anytime I watch documentaries that chronicle the personal sacrifices of you and your families. I guess that's just my own small way to show you that I appreciate that "higher standard" I've felt you earned.
But now I'm someone that's seriously starting to have doubts about whether many of you are actually standing up for the same basic American values that I believe in. Free speech and the right to voice your opinion on political matters and our culture is one thing, the act of perfidy is quite another. When Americans join the military, they become soldiers that swear an oath, not to defend any political ideology, but to defend the Constitution. However, with the advent of Facebook and Twitter as a public forum in which political junkies and novices alike have found to be created precisely for the daily airing out of political grievances, our servicemen and women have been unable to resist weighing in with some awfully irrational criticism of the current Commander in Chief, much to the detriment of the otherwise glorified persona we civilians have assigned to them in our society.
As fellow citizens, enlisted men and women enjoy the same freedoms that civilians do, which obviously includes the freedom of speech; however, our soldiers owe it to their country to be mindful of their audience. While it's perfectly fine to badmouth his Commander in Chief from the comforts of home, or with her buddies out on a jog, re-posting that "Obama as Stalin" picture or "Obama Conspires Against Vets" story link you found over at some Tea Party Facebook page seems to carry a lot more weight and negative repercussions because you said it. And that's not just the opinion of some infamously loudmouthed and "ungrateful" local progressive, it's actually the law as stated under Parker v. Levy (1974), where a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the "different character of the military community and of the military mission" requires a "different application" of standard free speech protections under the First Amendment. More recently, in 2009, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, said "The U.S. military must remain apolitical [ ... ] and be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway."
I thought the last president was a truly a disaster, especially in foreign policy (hardly becoming the international diplomat his father had been), but I still respected the office he held and hoped the decisions he made would somehow work out well for most people. If you could support him — some halfwit pretending he was one of you as he hopped out of a jet plane to say "I won!" — I know you can take a step back from the current political discourse we all hear every day, think about the unique role you play for this nation, and start treating the current guy (and the significant majority of the citizens of this country who have elected him twice) with the same respect you feel that's owed to you.
There, I said it. I hope those of you that are currently serving or have previously served know it comes from a love of country and sincere hope that we can somehow improve our political discourse, not some expectation that you bow down to the guy I happen to support.
Jeff B. Woodmansee
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