What's With All the Titles?
by James Glaser
December 8, 2011
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The Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, that forbids the United States from granting titles of nobility and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress. This clause is also sometimes called the "federal" Nobility Clause, because a similar clause in Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 bars the states (rather than the federal government) from granting titles of nobility. The Title of Nobility Clause is also one of the clauses that is sometimes called the "Emolument Clause".

I don't know about you, but it just bugs the heck out of me that politicians keep what ever title they had in elected office for the rest of their lives. Have you noticed that? Did you ever think about it?

Newt Gingrich has not served in the House of Representatives or as Speaker of the House for well over a decade, but even in the debates he is asked questions as Mr. Speaker. The same with Rick Santorum. They still call him Senator, even though he was voted out of office.

Even people who were appointed as Ambassadors to some foreign country as a reward for political contributions or were just political party hacks who needed a reward remain Mister Ambassador or Madame Ambassador till the day they die. Something is just not right about that.

Now I know pundits use these titles as a form of flattery, and the former officer holders use the title for not only financial reasons, but also, let's face it, because it is pretty cool to have people think you earned that title.

Joe Blow might be a great speaker and probably can get a nice fee for his speeches, but Senator Blow or President Blow can demand way more for a speaking fee. Ah, ha! There's a buck behind it.

The way I look at it is when you are an elected official you get the title as a title of respect for the office you hold, but when you no longer hold that office you should revert back to Mr. or Ms. as your title just like everyone else.

Politicians who want to keep their former title, are putting themselves in a different class than the rest of us. Since we don't have a royal family per blood line as in some countries (the country from which we separated ourselves), they want to establish themselves as part of what is now considered America's political nobility. I guess if you look at it this way, it makes perfect sense because they didn't really care about the Constitution when they were in office, so why should we think they would after they are out of office?

The Constitution be damned; they and their cohorts will hang onto their titles and their wealth and their prestige until their last breath. Sounds like we have a royal class. So much for a democratic society for which our fore-fathers fought and died.

Think about that the next time you address a former politician or appointee. Call him or her what you will, but I know what I will call him.

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