If you didn’t hear about it, Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh was testifying in front of a Senate committee when he responded to a question by Senator Barbara Boxer with “yes ma’am.” She took that as a sign of disrespect so she asked that he address her as “senator” because, as she put it, she worked hard for that title.
Senator Boxer showed her ignorance of the military when she did that. Milbogger Blackfive explains:
As a former Army Officer, if one of my soldiers called me “Lieutenant”, instead of “el-tee” or “Sir”, I would know that he found me lacking. Calling me by my job title or rank is only done because it is the lowest requirement of respect.
The. Lowest. Requirement. Of. Respect.
If one of my soldiers called me “Captain”, without using my last name behind it or “Sir”, I would know that he found me substandard.
BG Walsh was showing Barbara Boxer respect by calling her “Ma’am” instead of “Senator.” Believe me, the title “Senator” does not really hold a whole lot of credibility in the US military. It’s a job, and a Corporal leading a team in Baqubah has more honor than most of those holding that title.
Sir or Ma’am is showing Barbara Boxer respect that doesn’t have to be shown to her. BG Walsh can call her Senator all day and night. Instead, the general called her “Ma’am” – a term in deference to her and to show respect for what she earned.
But if she wants to be associated with that den of corruption and incompetence, be my guest.
So, what Senator Boxer actually said to BG Walsh is “please call me by the lowest requirement of respect.”
Well, Boxer said she worked hard to get that title, and I have to say I agree with the her.