June 23, 2009
I decided to put this out here because of the vile nature of the other comments we have gotten. Many folks had the same questions/comments but yours were the only postable ones. Hopefully answering your questions will answer theirs and stop the hate.
Thank you for your thoughts.
There was only one thing that truly bothered me about what you wrote, which I think was a simple misunderstanding. I appreciate not only the time your took to make your comments, but also that they were free of blatantly sexist remarks. Your personal beliefs and attitudes toward men and women and their respective worth – inherent and earned – are your own and I respect them.
I would like to clarify some things – using your own quotes – in an effort to promote further understanding. It got kind of long because I was trying to address as many questions at once so if nothing else please skip down to the bottom to “This is what bothered me” and read just that. Thanks.
You go out of your way to refer to a man who has defended YOUR freedom to speak as mister
The precise point of the post. Although it seems the point was taken in only one direction.
The General no matter how you feel about him politically has in fact earned his title.
And the Senator no matter how you feel about her personally has in fact earned her title.
Even if the writer discounts her “earning” it or “her worthiness of said title”.
One cannot begin to compare their career paths — the second point.
His career choice has led him down roads that Sen. Boxer wouldn’t dream of traveling, and he deserves the respect that comes with that rank.
You’re absolutely right. She wouldn’t have…because it would have been pointless. The military as a career choice was an absolute impossibility just as motherhood was for Brig Gen Walsh. No matter what dreams, desires, skills, natural aptitude, military connections or physical abilities, Sen Boxer could not have earned the title of general by leading soldiers in to battle.
Though the statement itself reveals a great deal about what the writer (and society in general) considers to be a “worthy” career and how the career itself dictates the absolute level of respect afforded. That the title of “General” carries with it more inherent respect than “Senator” or even “Mother”. That even the most disrespectful male General would be more worthy of respect than the most respected female Senator.
No logical argument can be derived from the absolute comparison of their respective careers since his career was not even an option for her. They can only be assessed relatively in regards to the absolute standards of their separate careers, which, for both, arose from the same desire to serve their country — the ultimate position attainable for both (as yet, only in theory), Commander in Chief.
Sen Boxer cannot be judged as a father and Brig Gen Walsh cannot be judged as a mother, but they can be judged relatively as parents.
You still insist that a General is more deserving of respect than a Senator?
Who is more intrinsically worthy: a mother or a male general?
A mother who can give birth to more than one general or a single male general?
Is a female general, who is also a mother, more worthy of respect than a male general, because she is capable of doing things he wouldn’t dream of doing? Things, that for him, are an absolute impossibility?
A male general, no matter how exemplary his service and no matter how many soldiers he has lead into battle – or more importantly, out of battle – will never be a mother, will never be worthy of being a mother and will never earn the respect of actually being a mother.
So does that mean he is not capable of being respected equally for what he does do and is capable of doing?
Using the writer’s logic, a man of any occupation, no matter what he dreamt or didn’t dream, is not capable of being a mother, and thus, less inherently worthy of respect as the female general. And no matter what title he is assigned, he did not “earn” it the way she did.
And to extend the argument to conclusion?
Men can become generals but can never become mothers. They can never achieve that title — they can never earn that title. They can dream and dream all they like and never come close.
But women are not only capable of being mothers and generals – they can give birth to more potential generals.
So are women generals inherently more worthy than a male general, who is only capable of doing one of the three things a female general is capable of?
I don’t think that’s where the writer wanted to head.
So now that it’s clear from both sides that Sen Boxer’s and Brig Gen Walsh’s relevant worthiness of respect cannot be assessed on the basis or comparison of career choices, this borders on ridiculous.
The next point I would like to make is since when is being elected to public service considered working hard towards a title? She won an election, she didn’t become a senator by leading soldiers in battle, nor did she earn her title through exlempary service. She won her title in an election. Winning and earning an award are two entirely different things.
Frankly, those words and the thoughts behind them reflect a sexist ignorance that even with logic cannot be overcome unless it is so chosen.
How is someone who is not in the military — nor could ever be — as in the possibility did not exist — going to earn the respect of her title through exemplary military service? It’s as ludicrous as saying the general did not earn the respect of his title because he has never given birth and/or passed legislation.
If one were to compare them, as the writer has, one could say he is less deserving of respect and really did not “earn” his title because less than 200 people voted to give him the title, as opposed to the almost 7 million votes — the most for any politician — man or woman — in California history — that Sen Boxer received in 2004.
Do 7 million people know Brig Gen Walsh’s name…even now?
And how is a politician rewarded for their “exemplary service”?
And no one in the state’s history has received more votes than Sen Boxer.
How is a soldier rewarded for exemplary service?
Has Brig Gen Walsh been awarded more medals than any other brigadier general in history?
Is Sen Boxer more worthy of respect because she represents the interests of tens of millions of Americans and he less worthy because he commanded less than 5000 soldiers as Commander of Task Force Hope?
Is Sen Boxer worthy of more respect because she is one of only 100 people who presently have such titles and he’s one of 302 and that’s just in his branch of the service?
Is Sen Boxer more worthy of respect because she has been re-elected three times and he has only earned a measly one star? A star he really didn’t even “earn” because people just voted to give it to him – one of whom was Sen Boxer?
Is Sen Boxer more worthy of respect because she is one of only 27 female senators in all of American history?
Is Brig Gen Walsh one of only 27 anythings?
Senator Boxer earned her title by fighting her own battles – in civilian life – the only place she was afforded the opportunity. She was forbidden from even attempting to “earn” them through military service and the fact the writer mentioned it makes her case even stronger.
Would the writer stand before Senator John McCain, a man of great honor, a man who has selflessly served his country since he was a teenager, a man who more than earned his military awards with five years of captivity and torture, and tell him that he just “won” his title in an election? That he didn’t earn it?
Has the writer read Sen McCain’s words as to how he views his military service in comparison to public service? Which he finds more humbling? More challenging? What he finds to be the greater responsibility?
Would the writer stand before the President and tell him that that title he “won” doesn’t qualify him to be Commander in Chief because he did nothing to “earn” it?
[My answer to that question is the only place in any of this where "politics" would come into play. I believe he is not. I believe he was given his title and did not in any way earn it and he has not even proven he is eligible to hold it. And if I ever had the honor to speak with Brig Gen Walsh - yes, honor - I would not only given him the respect he deserves, I would thank him for his service, and then I would ask him to make his Supreme Commander prove that he has the Constitutional authority to send brave young American volunteers into battle - some to certain death.]
This is what bothered me:
Lastly I see that you feel politicians are worthy as being addressed by their titles and soldiers are not, and that is a battle I will not attempt to win but it does show that the left wing still has no respect for the brave men and women who eat, sleep, live and die to protect the country they love.
The blog description states very clearly that we are not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, any candidate, political party or organization.
Secondly, no where did I say a politician is worthy of being addressed by their titles and soldiers are not. That flies in the face of the entire argument. I referred to Brig Gen Walsh as “Mister” to illustrate my point – which you got – but only in regard to and in defense of the General. I made very clear my respect and gratitude for the military:
There is no doubt–in my mind at least–that every single servicemember – regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political party and whatever else one wants to split themselves into – deserves the utmost respect, as they have volunteered to put their life on the line to defend mine and my freedom.
So your comment was a direct insult to the honor of my father and all five uncles who served in WWII. Since we are clearly on the same side of the issue there – there is no issue – I’ll accept that it simply got missed.
Military protocol is the way it is for reasons, and as a civilian I can not expect you to understand that.
To this day I respond, as my father and mother taught me, “Yes, Ma’am” and “Yes, Sir” – even to people younger than me or in a position of lesser authority. I believe every person deserves that simple respect until they do something to revoke it. But I more strongly believe that people who have earned – yes, earned – their titles deserve to have their efforts acknowledged, which means addressing them by their title. Most particularly women of Sen Boxer’s generation, who preceded affirmative action (unlike the president and first lady) and got where they are on their own merit and despite rampant sexism – which clearly is alive and well.
And I can assure you my father, uncles and six brothers would have addressed Sen Boxer as “Senator” without having to be told. And that no matter what happened, they would have spoken up instead of letting her continue to be disrespected on their behalf. And they would have loved to “chat” with the soldier whose silence caused the Pentagon to have to go on record.
Yes, Brig Gen Walsh’s use of “Ma’am” was well within protocol.
Yes, Sen Boxer had every right to request he address her as “Senator”.
And, yes, Sen Boxer might have phrased her request differently.
But Brig Gen Walsh’s continued silence, knowing how Sen Boxer is being attacked, is a measure of disrespect all on its own, and it does not reflect well on his character.
And it makes her point in the shrillest voice possible.
And if you are military yourself – an extra sincere thank you for your service and sacrifice to our country.