Do presidents removed from office still retain honorific titles?
Does a person still get to be "the honorable" if they are tossed out for not being honorable?
- The President of the United States is entitled "Mr/Ms. President," "the honorable," and "their Excellency" depending on the context.
- The first two of these follow a person all of their life, including long after they leave the office that gave it to them.
- The question of whether an impeached president could still be called "the honorable" is still open, since no precedent exists for it.
Unless you've been living under a rock or subscribing to some odd legal advice, you probably know that the House of Representatives has impeached President Trump. He joins Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson as only the third president to have been given the strictest reprimand the lower house of Congress can bestow. However, neither Johnson or Clinton were removed from office by the Senate.This means that the United States is in mostly uncharted territory, with only two examples to look at for precedent, one of which was over 150 years ago. Many questions, from what rules the Senate should apply to how to get a president to leave the White House, remain.
One of them is how to refer to a previous president who was dishonorably discharged from their duties. After all, we currently refer to former presidents as "Mr. President" and afford them the honorific of the "honorable." But, would this be different?
A question of titles
What to address the president has been a continuing question in American history. John Adams famously wanted to give the president the exhausted honorific of his "majesty" to help assure the office would be respected. While his fellow revolutionaries Jefferson and Franklin found his proposal to be insane. Other proposals at the time included a reference to the old Dutch Republic with the title his "High Mightiness."
In the end, the simple title of "Mr. President" won out. It did not extend beyond the term of office, however, and ex-presidents reverted to their old titles after returning to private life. Washington became "general" again, Adams became "mister," and Teddy Roosevelt became "colonel." It is a recent development that former presidents have retained the title after leaving office.
Today, the president is given the courtesy title of the "honorable" as a perk of office just the same as judges, diplomats, members of Congress, and other officials. While it might stand to reason that a person removed from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors" might not be "honorable" anymore, this may not be the case. According to Robert Hickey, Deputy Director of the Protocol School of Washington, this title sticks with a person even after they leave the office that granted them the title. He gives the simple rule of "once an honorable, always an honorable." This would suggest the title would remain even if the holder were removed from office.
Similarly, Mary K. Mewborn points out in an article on the topic that there are at least 100,000 "honorables" in the United States as a result of this rule. Among them "all of the politically appointed ambassadors, past and present (many of whom are considered to have bought their titles through large contributions), former actors, an ex-wrestler, a spokesman for Viagra, some doctors, lots of lawyers, and an Indian chief. There are more than a few ex-convicts bearing the title as well."
Her description of the potential creation of a law to strip the term from those convicted of crimes or violating ethics codes further suggests that no such protocol existed at the time her article was written.
To put all doubt to rest, the State Department also agrees on the use of the title after a person leaves office.
For the curious, the president is also deemed their "excellency" in diplomatic correspondence, but that title is attached to the office and used only in limited circumstances. It would never be used when directly addressing the president today.
Just as we are in uncharted constitutional waters, impeachment has left us in uncharted waters for etiquette as well. While the evidence suggests that you can't lose the title of "honorable," it might also be said the current situation is a little different than any case before. We'll have to wait and see.
 Richard Nixon, seeing the writing on the wall, resigned before an impeachment vote could take place. He is often, erroneously, included in this group anyway.
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.
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