posted by [personal profile] robhansen at 04:46pm on 20/01/2017
So, a comment about honorifics:

Dad occupies a pretty august seat in government. No, he's not retired, federal judges do not retire; their job lasts their lifetime. Even now, when he's in what's called "inactive status" and enjoying life on our farm, he's still a fully-vested member of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Going above him requires talking to someone who gets addressed as "Justice".

And yet, despite all this, you know what the overwhelming majority of people call him? "Dave." (Which gets on his nerves, actually: he prefers "David", unless you're one of his nieces or nephews. As he once told me, family gets to call him by the familiar.)

Many years ago when I was a kid I asked him if it bothered him so few people called him "Judge Hansen". He didn't even need to think before he answered. No, he said, it didn't bother him a bit. His honorific was a reflection of his standing in court, not his standing in society. We fought a war to rid ourselves of the cancer of aristocracy, and he wasn't going to see that great revolution be undone by government functionaries insisting on their honorifics being turned into noble titles. If his fellow citizen voluntarily called him "Your Honor" or "Judge Hansen", he would be honored to answer to that, and would hope to conduct himself in a manner worthy of that; but he would never expect his fellow citizen would, except in court. He was, is, a servant of the people, and servants do not get to demand titles or honors.

I admired, and still admire, the living daylights out of the Old Man for such a republican (small-r) outlook on society and his role within it. The Old Man was, and is, right.

So no, please, don't feel it's in any way disrespectful to Barack Obama to call him Barack. He's no longer our President. He's been returned to us as a fellow citizen. He's just Barack.

If you *want* to call him "Mr. President", or "President Obama", well, feel free. If that's what's in your heart, do so.

But don't knock people who call him Barack, either. He's our fellow citizen. We're allowed. :)

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