John ‘LaLanne’ McCain

Vigorous Older American

My latest New York Sun column addresses the issue of McCain’s age.

First, I report on a new line of attack on McCain, labeling his campaign style as archaic:

“The imagery and language involved in the discussion highlight Mr. McCain’s age. ‘It’s the difference between a horse and buggy and a NASA space ship,’ a former Democratic campaign consultant and founder of PoliticsOnline, Phil Noble, told Politico.

A long post at the DailyKos.com last week took the idea to excess. Headlined ‘McCain and Technology, Building a Bridge to the Nineteenth Century,’ the post depicted such apparatuses as a zeppelin, a telegraph, and a high-wheel bicycle.”

Then, I find an experienced New York employment law attorney, Murray Schwartz, to talk about age discrimination.

“Age discrimination is an insidious, egregious disease,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Age should not be a factor in any employment decision that’s made. Not in hiring. Not in firing.”

What about a case when a person’s age is not specifically raised, but they are referred to as “confused” or some other description? “If that person came to see me, I would find out whether they were confused,” Mr. Schwartz said, noting that often “buzzwords” or code words that allude to a person’s age, but don’t mention it directly, circulate around the workplace. “No one ever passes around a memo.”

While Mr. Schwartz stuck to the law and didn’t want to get into politics, he did provide a general statement about age entering into the presidential race. “If someone is going to be ignored as a viable candidate because of age, besides it violating the law, it would be shameful,” he said. He added that many professionals, including lawyers, reach their peak in their later years. “Experience is a major component of everything.”

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