What is it about liberals and the military? Why are liberals uncomfortable with the military? Why do some liberals apparently despise our military? Is it because the armed services remind them that not every international dispute can be solved with soothing words uttered by a diplomat? Is it because they view military expenditures as taking money away from greater health and welfare spending?
The latest liberal-military confrontation occurred in a hearing room on Capitol Hill on June 16, 2009 when Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh called California’s junior senator “Ma’am” — a perfectly acceptable sign of military respect to both a U.S. Senator or a senior female officer. What happened next was remarkable. Barbara Boxer immediately dressed down the general officer, saying, “I had a… You know… do me a favor, could you say ‘Senator’ instead of ‘Ma’am’ — it’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title so I’d appreciate it, yes thank you.”
According to the U.S. Army’s own guide to protocol, members of the U.S. Senate should be verbally addressed as “Sir,” “Ma’am,” or “Senator.” So, Gen. Walsh was simply following longstanding tradition.
Ironically, when addressing senior officers, with the exception of generals whom most junior officers and enlisted personnel will call “General,” the most respectful form of address is “Sir” or “Ma’am” with use of the actual rank in address being reserved oftentimes in situations when the senior officer has not yet earned respect from an enlisted person, as in “Yes, Lieutenant!” as opposed to “Yes, Ma’am!”
Of course, this wasn’t Boxer’s first confrontation with the U.S. military — not by a long shot. Boxer cut her political teeth on the anti-Vietnam war protests around the Bay Area back in the day and never really changed her outlook on the uniformed defenders of the Constitution of the United States. Who can forget her confrontation with American hero Gen. David Petraeus back in 2007 when she called him a liar and then wrote a now laughable blog for the Huffington Post on September 14, 2007 which she headlined, “General Petraeus, Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses” calling for an immediate end (read: “defeat”) to the war in Iraq.
Perhaps it’s time for the Barbara Boxer to have a new title: “Ex-Senator.”