Since when did “ma’am” become such a bad word?

Can you believe this crap?

In case you forgot, Barbara Boxer is a senator.

The feisty California lawmaker felt the need to remind an Army brigadier general of that fact Tuesday during a hearing before her Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where the military officer testifying had the apparent gall to call Boxer “ma’am.”

Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was testifying on the Louisiana coastal restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He began to answer one of Boxer’s questions with “ma’am” when Boxer immediately cut him off.

“You know, do me a favor,” an irritated Boxer said. “Could say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?'”

“Yes, ma’am,” Walsh interjected.

“It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you,” she said.

“Yes, senator,” he responded.

However, Walsh surely meant no disrespect, as military protocol advises that officers may use “sir” or “ma’am” when addressing anybody higher than them on the chain of command.

“We would call them ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ or ‘senator such-and-such’,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said. Banks said any of those terms would be “appropriate” when addressing a senator.

But apparently not to one who believes it’s insulting to refer to a woman as “ma’am” because it (gasp!) denotes her gender, which she and other feminists often mistake for attempts at “slighting” them. There’s no question that that’s exactly what this was about.

I wonder if Boxer objects to being called “Mrs. Boxer,” too?

Andrew Malcolm has video of the exchange.

Oh – and in case you’re wondering, there’s a hyocrisy angle here, too:

A blogger suggests that Boxer forgot that she, herself, had addressed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in similar fashion.

“Few may remember that Boxer called Rice ‘Madam’ three different times during testimony while the secretary of state was appearing before Congress,” Tommy De Seno writes in Justified Right.

“Put aside that in England where the word originates, Madam is used to address the queen or a royal princess. Forget that in America, Madam is an appellation of respect used toward women. It is all still far below Her Liege Barbara Boxer.”

Really, Senator Boxer. Can’t you find more pressing issues to complain about, ma’am?

Related: Don Surber digs up an old episode of Gomer Pyle from 1965 that is very relevant to this discussion. The synopsis:

“Gomer gets in hot water with a female officer when he fails to salute her and instead tips his hat and says ‘hey ma’am.’ To teach him a lesson, Gomer is required to clean the Captain’s office each day for a week. But it’s Captain Ironpants who learns about respect when Gomer teaches her about Southern hospitality.”

And to think there are women today – primarily the uberfems like Mrs. Boxer, who object to such things!

Have we really “come a long way, baby”?

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