By Matt Sanchez
During a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee, the committee chair Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer interrupted Brigadier General Michael Walsh's report to ask a favor.
"You know, do me a favor," Boxer said the way an owner patronizes a reluctant pet, before snapping on a leash. "Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am? It's just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes, thank you," Barbara said and why not, if she never addressed the three star general as "Sir" why should she tolerate the term "Ma'am"? "Ma'am" was entirely unacceptable for 68 year-old who had clawed her way out of the Marin County Board of Directors to become one of the most prominent senators from the nation's Golden State.
Brigadier General Michael Walsh has to live up to a lineage that goes back to the founding of our country, while Senator Barbara Boxer is really just guided by her latest mood swing.
There's a divide between civilian and military power and that's a good thing, but where civilian customs and norms change as quickly as the champions of "American Idol," the military honors history, tradition and their fellow servicemen, by following protocol. In the military, "Ma'am" and "Sir are used to address all civilians regardless of rank and status. This type of respect is shown, by default, to all civilians, which made the term entirely inappropriate for a woman of Boxer's accomplishments.
According to Time magazine, the 4′11″ Democrat senator uses a "Boxer box" to grasp the lectern mike on the Senate floor. At today's committee hearing, in the absence of what can be described as a senatorial high chair, Barbara decided to step on the Brigadier General Walsh instead. I'm certain Boxer did not consider her behavior inappropriate, because that would require thinking of someone beyond herself and when one reviews the career of Senator Boxer, it's clear she really believes she is number one.
Senator Barbara Boxer and Brigadier General Michael Walsh are both natives of Brooklyn, but any similarity between the two ends there. Boxer's Rocky-like ascension to the heights of federal power began as a commoner in the House of Representative, where she slaved away to represent the demands of the residents of the wealthy in Marin County. The toll of her duties was so high that Boxer lost track of her very own personal finances and gave herself free loans through a federally backed overdraft protection plan, courtesy of the American taxpayer. Once she came back to her senses, Representative Boxer conceded that "I should have paid more attention to my account." Fortunately the 87 overdrafted checks Boxer wrote herself did not bar her from becoming the Chairwoman of the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics once she reached the Senate. To become one of one-hundred, Barbara Boxer narrowly defeated Republican Bruce Herschensohn who lost support after a last-minute scandal involving strip clubs.
Meanwhile, back in the Army, after officer training school, Engineer Officers Basic and Advanced Courses, U.S. Army Command, General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College, all Brigadier General Michael Walsh had to do to earn his place in the sun was to jet set through duty stations in Saudia Arabia and Baghdad, show he could lead and command soldiers, and pass a review board of his peers and superiors. After all, he only has one star.
The pressure was much more intense for Boxer who had to consistently campaign and was even reduced to making cameo appearances as herself in televisions shows like "Murphy Brown" (1994), "Gilmore Girls" (2002) and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2007). How many other senators are burdened with their own page at IMDB?
There is clearly an unfair gap between civilian and military standards. Brigadier General Michael Walsh has to live up to a lineage that goes back to the founding of our country, while Senator Barbara Boxer is really just guided by her latest mood swing.
The duty of the Army Corps of Engineers is to plan, design and build, but being berated by a small senator with a big chip on her shoulder is just the type of favor a soldier can do, without getting too distracted from his true purpose of serving the American people. Senator Boxer is also a public servant, but given her prissy demeanor she just seems so much more important. Just ask the voters who seem to have the roles confused and have put her in office time and time again.