On October 28, 2021, Amanda Terkel, the 39-year-old Washington Bureau Chief of HuffPost declared open season on septuagenarians with her lead column headlined “74-year-old Man Blocks Universal Paid Leave.” Terkel’s column is about Joe Manchin’s resistance to including even four weeks of paid family leave in the “Build Back Better” reconciliation package being negotiated by the Democratic caucuses in both houses. We mark this as the date when 70 or older became an acceptable derogatory epithet for progressives, who will protest saying “some of our best friends are over 70” while quickly remembering to name “Bernie” but failing to acknowledge that much of what they espouse was taught to them by him when he was already over 70, and what they learned is less than Bernie has already forgotten about truly liberal principles and policies.
The over 70 epithet now joins “white” and “man” as ones embraced by progressives like Ms. Terkel. She also approvingly quotes their use as slurs by Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow at New America Foundation, who stated “The fact that this one older white gentleman, who perhaps has never had to contend with family caregiving or risk losing a job or being unable to pay bills, could stand in the way of paid leave for nearly 20 million people a year is shocking and upsetting.” Terkel also quotes Dawn Huckelbridge, the paid Director of the “Paid Leave for All” campaign, who stated “I think it’s horrific that one white man can make this decision.” Huckelbridge’s website reveals an Advisory Council that includes guess who – Vicki Shabo and wonder who – Tina Tchen. Parenthetically we thought Tchen had been banished from Progressiveville because she assisted both Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct. Hey Progressives – “Let’s be careful out there.”
We are 74 years old too and agree with Ms. Terkel about the importance of paid family leave, having taken extended unpaid leave after the birth of each of our three kids. The first of those occurring in medieval 1978, before Ms. Terkel’s alleged birth. And we also share her anger toward Senator Manchin, while wondering what epithet she’s either swallowing in her descriptions of Senator Sinema or getting ready to spit out at that dingbat. We confess that our formulation discloses unfair prejudice against all dingbats by defining the Senator as one of them.
The Terkel/Shabo/Huckelbridge slurs, typical of progressive parlance these days, shows they haven’t learned what Bernie and most liberals learned a long time ago. You simply can’t do this and expect to “win friends and influence people” outside your silo. Not even for the worthy cause of paid family leave, which truly is common cause.
Slurs and epithets just don’t work, as we learned from Reverend William Sloane Coffin one day in 1970, when he addressed and then conversed for ten full hours with a group of fellow students. When asked by one student whether he was “speaking for all these honkies” Coffin responded, “it depends upon whether you’re asking for all those [N-words].” Coffin went on to say and teach that you just can’t do that – but if you do then don’t expect to win.