BattleMoose wrote:The point being raised is that this could be an example of accidental sexism. If male senators are referred to as "senator" and female senators are not, that is an issue and needs redress. And could very much be the core motivation for the request of the title "senator" to be used.
Are you suggesting that is an argument I should use to convince my friend that Senator Boxer was justified?
1. I do not think that General Walsh was being sexist, not even accidentally.
2. I think that claiming he was sexist would be a difficult position to defend.
3. Therefore I am willing to freely concede the point and accept that General Walsh used Sir and Ma’am equally.
Moreover, my position is that Senator Boxer’s words were neither disrespectful to, nor shaming of, General Walsh, period. Regardless of any mitigating circumstances or lack therefore. Even under the presumption that General Walsh was following military protocol to the letter, and assuming that he used Sir for male Senators without qualification.
There could perhaps be an argument that the established military etiquette—the mere existence of gender-based honorifics—is itself sexist and therefore worthy of being called out. Would you recommend that as an avenue to convince my friend that Senator Boxer was not disrespectful?
BattleMoose wrote:Perhaps a public dressing down wasn't that appropriate.
Are you making the positive claim that Senator Boxer did in fact carry out a “public dressing down” of General Walsh? That seems equivalent to my friend’s contention that she was “shaming” him, and I strongly disagree.
The way I see the exchange, Senator Boxer did not admonish General Walsh in any way for calling her Ma’am, she simply asked that a different term be used, and said a few words to explain why she made the request.
BattleMoose wrote:Either way, I just don't think any of this is as big of a deal for anyone involved.
I concur. However I am told that affront to Senator Boxer’s words was widespread in the military, and I defer to my friend’s knowledge on that point.
Azrael wrote:We aren't having your friend's discussion. You came here and asked what we thought, and it's being provided.
I came here primarily to ask for recommendations on how to convince my friend that Senator Boxer was neither disrespectful nor shaming of General Walsh, or counterarguments to convince me of the opposite.
I don't see a rational support for her supposition that a Senator disrespecting a General (undertaking for a moment this was
such) undermines the command structure. It seems rather ludicrous. But, to Morris' point, I bet we could find similar examples -- likely far more disrespectful examples -- from male, Republican Senators that haven't eroded the command structure and see where your friend's true complaint lies.
EDIT: Oh look
McCarthy once called a general a "five-year-old child" and "not fit to wear that uniform". And while it is cited as one the many factors that eventually lead to his formal censure, surprising no one, the insult did not harm the military command structure.
Okay, the McCarthy example clearly illustrates that insulting a General does not harm the command structure. However, I’m not sure I want to bring McCarthy
Azrael wrote:Yeah. Asking to be called "Senator" isn't harming anything.
This I very much agree with. Can we come up with more detailed explanations of why, exactly, that is true, in order to convince someone who currently holds the opposite view?
elasto wrote:Yah. Any appeal to 'command structure' makes no sense as the chain of command has civilians above the military.
The situation seems simple to me: The General made a faux-pas in not realizing that, while ma'am is respectful within the military, it might be seen as disrespectful outside of it. Different etiquette and so on.
She corrected him. He accepted the correction. Both happily moved on. Don't really see the big issue here.
Indeed, these are essentially my thoughts on the matter as well. And I am finding it somewhat difficult to clearly elucidate what precisely about Senator Boxer’s remarks qualifies them as non-disrespectful, because to me they simply are not disrespectful.
So that’s what I’m looking for help with.