"Senator, I would like to thank you for the correction. You see, too many times, military folks like myself actually follow regulations. The identifier that I just said was proper to those regulations, albeit possibly -- or, in your case, most certainly -- misused.
"Respectfully, Senator, I must say I have always believed it improper to generally use the term 'ma'am.' The term 'ma'am' is one of respect that would denote a true woman to be a lady. That is not something that a woman, especially a large number of the brand of women we have in our society today, are born with.
"In truth, the label 'ma'am' would have to be earned. 'Ma'am' is one of the most respectful titles the military bestows, although, as you have reminded me, far too generally. To be a 'ma'am' is way more respectful a title than to be a 'U.S. Senator' and likely, just as rare.
"I, Senator, am an officer and a gentleman. I should know the difference between a lady and a senator. I should call you 'Senator' for sure, and I promise I will not make that mistake again."
I believe that response would be appropriate.
Will Tinney, Aiken, S.C.