Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
The “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities” has been ratified by 126 countries including longstanding US allies like China, Iran and Syria. This treaty, based on the Americans With Disabilities Act, is intended to end discrimination against disabled people. Because of its basis on American regulation, one would imagine that it would have no problems being passed by US legislators. As it turns out, anyone who thought that would have been using their imagination since the US Senate failed to ratify this treaty during a lame duck session this past week.
Ignoring the recommendations, and in some cases actual pleas, from senior political leaders who fought in actual wars, conservative senators decided that passage of the Convention would destroy US sovereignty. Therefore, as true patriots – albeit ones whose only defense of the US comes from their rhetoric flourishes – 38 brave senators voted against the passage of this treaty. These brave warriors included former-senator Rick Santorum, Arizona senator Jon Kyl, Utah senator Mike Lee, and Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe who fought back a spirited attack from WWII veterans George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, and Vietnam veterans John McCain and John Kerry.
These loyalists saw through the foolish argument that this treaty would benefit disabled people around the world – including Americans traveling and living abroad – while making non-binding recommendations that would not create any new legal rights in US state or federal courts. They made statements like “I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society” and, the sure-to-be-classic argument that this treaty “would offer cover to regimes that have no intention of actually helping their citizens, while needlessly tying the hands of countries like the United States that have actually made great strides in this area.” The only thing missing from their statements was the claim that the UN is a useless body. The irony of making that remark while voting down what could have been a landmark treaty is certainly an opportunity missed and I hope the conservatives get another chance to fix this error soon.