Friday, December 07, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #85 - Part 5

Outrage of the Week #5: Senate rejects treaty based on ADA

In 1990, Congress passed and President Bush the elder signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. It's not perfect, but among the nations of the world, the ADA is considered the gold standard among nations for disability rights. As such, it became the basis for a UN treaty on the rights of people with disabilities. It was negotiated for the US by the administration of President Bush the younger. It was completed in 2006 and Obama signed it in 2009.

The treaty has been ratified by 126 nations, who are obligated under it to strive to assure that the people of their nation with disabilities enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. That is, these nations are obligated to strive for what we are already striving for with the ADA - they are to strive, that is, to measure up to the standard we set.

The treaty would not affect US law at all - obviously, since our law is the standard for judging. It would, however, be a strong signal that we are serious about wanting other nations to live up to their treaty obligations. Our only obligation would be to every few years give a report (as would all other nations under the treaty) to a panel of disabilities experts, who could make non-binding recommendations on further improvements.

It came up before the Senate for ratification and had wide bipartisan backing: Besides both Bushes and Obama, there was Bob Dole, who came to the Senate floor in his wheelchair to show his support. On the floor, it was supported in the debate by John Kerry, John McCain, Richard Lugar, Dick Durbin, and Tom Harkin. Support was about as bipartisan as it gets in the Senate. It was backed by the disabilities community and by veterans groups.

On Tuesday, December 4, the Senate rejected the treaty. It got 61 votes but a two-thirds vote, or here 66 votes, is required to ratify a treaty.

The objections were the usual blend of ignorance, stupidity, and paranoid wackoness about UN world government, complete with the whoop-whoop of black helicopters flying in the background. The 38 GOPpers who voted "Nay" are a disgrace to their offices and to the nation. John Kerry called it "one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate." I just call it despicable - and an outrage.


No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');