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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Friday, June 19, 2009

She's Still A Girl

I fondly remember a scene from the Andy Griffith comedy No Time For Sergeants when he and his buddy are approached by a female in uniform. Being higher ranked then they are, she proceeds to dress them down. While Andy's buddy, Ben, converses with the woman, he stands there dumbfounded, barely able to salute. After she leaves Ben, astonished, asked "what got into you?" Andy asks what a woman was doing on the air forces base. Ben explains that she was a captain and that they were supposed to salute her just like they were to salute a male superior. Andy vehemently states that he didn't see a captain, but a woman.

Apparently, there are still some guys that can't tell the difference...

When Brigadier General Michael Walsh repeatedly answered the questions of Senator Barbara Boxer with , "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am," during Senate hearing Tuesday, she stated:

"Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am?' It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. I'd appreciate it."

Now, I'm by no means surprised by this, I do find it sad.

Mr. Rick Williams of the Old Virginia Blog muses that his reply should have been:

"Actually ma'am, my mama taught me to use that term since I was knee high to a grasshopper. It's just a thing; as you say. And, though I mean no disrespect, I value her instructions and what she taught me more than I do your position or the opinion of this body. In the South, we consider ma'am a courteous and respectful term. Actually, with all the scandals associated with the Congress and the fact that this legislative body has a lower public approval rating than an ax murderer, most folks where I come from consider the term "Senator" pejorative. That means low-down, ma'am. Come to think of it, perhaps Senator does fit you better."

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Blogger Son3 said...

Good post!

If he was speaking to a male senator, he would have responded with "sir", and nobody would've cared.

"Ma'am" is short for "Madam", which is how the Senate officially refers to the female senators.

He did nothing wrong.

June 19, 2009 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Johann Van De Leeuw said...

Sad, yet funny.
Ol' Virginia's the stuff!

June 19, 2009 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Haha! Awesome. Too bad she's MY senator....

June 19, 2009 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Ishkie said...

If he would call a man "Senator" instead "Sir" then a refusal to refer to her as "Senator" right off the bat is nothing short of misogyny. And "ma'am" is disrespectful -- if we had a female president you would not call her "ma'am," it's not befitting her station. You would call her "Madam President," of, if McCain had won, "Madam Vice President." Especially in a professional context. And I'm willing to bet you don't see the glass ceiling that still exists. It's easy for men to miss it when they never hit their heads on it.

June 20, 2009 at 3:25 AM  
Blogger Johnson said...

Good post, Stephen. Congrats for pulling a good point from No Time for Sergeants ; ).

Too bad General Walsh didn't have Mr. Williams' verbosity at that moment . . .

June 20, 2009 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Spencer: Yeah, we in Alabama refer to Boxer, Pelosi, and Feinstein as the "unholy trinity".

I want to state at the outset that I am not trying to impose my beliefs on you. I try merely to defend my position, with the infallible, inerrant Word of God as the standard.
I think you are coming to the discussion with different presuppositions than I am. I've always been taught that the respectful way of answering a woman's questions was "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am", even in a professional context. I sincerely doubt that the General ever entertained the thought that he might be disrespectful by answering her in this fashion.
I trust that we can agree that God designed men and women differently and one of the ways we recognize God's order is by addressing men and women differently. They are of equal value in the sight of God, but with different designs.

Yeah, it's a great film, full of good points!

June 20, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

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