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Power attorney smacks
smugness, shows disrespect
for older workers
Publisher/ America's Seniors
Watching the news
telecast about the age discrimination suit now before the Supreme Court,
there were many things that made me uneasy--and that confirmed, I truly
am a part of the most discriminated against class in the workforce
today, namely older people.
First of all, there
were the Supreme Court justices, all guaranteed jobs for life or until
they retire with juicy pensions, questioning whether or not a 'history'
of age discrimination existed, saying that in the case of civil rights
suits, there was a historic pattern.
Listen, folks: the first
lynching of a Black person or a person not being allowed to vote even
once, or having to give up a seat on the bus , are all vile forms of
discrimination and should not have required a century of
injustice to overcome. The same is true of age discrimination. (It
was this same court, different players, of course, who gave us the Dred
Scott decision that said a former slave must be returned to his
masters--so much for intelligence or even justice being a requirement
for sitting on the court--, based on the historical record, of course).
Next, was the
Chamber of Commerce, which throughout the years has been one of my least
favorite organizations. It
has always reminded me of Charlie McCarthy, Edger Bergen's beloved
dummy--never an original thought, but well-dressed and charming in their
role as mouthpiece for anything that its collective and well-heeled
The Chamber shows
that it isn't discriminating by trotting out an elderly spokesman.
His skin had more wrinkles than his suit, folks, proof that the
Chamber doesn't just love old people, it loves really old people.
He sat there explaining why we just can't interfere with businesses,
even after they discard the human resources that helped make those same
The AARP was in its
usual form. I thought maybe
the TV networks had made a case of mistaken identity.
The AARP spokesperson was a youthful woman, who if she is a
senior is a person whose supply of Human Growth Hormone I want to start
taking. Perhaps it was just that she came on screen after the Chamber
spokesperson. At least her
heart was in the right place, but one must wonder about the depth of
But the top award
goes to the lawyer for Florida Power. Somewhat fleshy, perhaps in his
mid 40s (it's hard to tell sometimes on TV), he laughingly talked about
the problems with older workers--resistant to change (smirk) , they
don't understand technology (smirk) are less adaptive (smirk) and don't
comprehend as well as younger workers (benevolent smile).
It was though he were saying, "Oh if you only knew how
troublesome these 50 and 55 year olds are--at least we don't shoot
This is coming from
a person representing an industry that has a monopoly on its services,
and which always asked for rate hikes higher than it needs knowing that
they will be turned down and receive something less, but still something
that will guarantee their profitability, free from competitive forces.
I know it's true. I once
was a speech writer for a high-ranking executive who was on the board of
a Midwestern utility. He
was always crying about the fact that the utility was troubled each year
by having to return for new rate increases, when, if only they would get
the one they needed, it would cover the who administrative procedure for
years to come. Sure, and I have a bridge to sell you.
It was the lawyer
whose image remains with me. The
only comfort I have is that he too shall grow older, unless he dies
first (I wonder if the smirk will be on his face then…undertakers are
pretty good at sewing up corners of the mouth ).
In any event, if he lives long enough, perhaps his somewhat soft
look will receive some definition by trials, understanding and doing the
I hope he is in as
good physical, mental and moral shape as are the majority of seniors.
But, should he pass on to his eternal reward first,
he will probably be warmer than he was when he so arrogantly
dismissed an entire generation of workers to the trash heap.
What do you call 1,000 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the
A good start.
The Florida Power attorney shows why there is more than a hint of
truth to these jokes.