Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Shameful Senate

screencap from the senate vote
It shouldn't be difficult to approve a measure of basic human rights, particularly when that measure has already been approved. But for Republican senators, that seems impossible, even when those rights have long ago been approved by a Republican president.

Senate Republicans blocked the ratification of a United Nations treaty on rights for the disabled for one simply inane and utterly irrelevant reason: home-schoolers allegedly being told what to do by "foreigners."

Sen. Inhofe was joined by Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (SC), Mike Lee (UT), Marco Rubio (FL) and most of the party’s leadership in quashing the treaty. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), who is up for re-election in 2014, voted against it.

“I and many of my constituents who home-school or send their children to religious schools,” said Lee, “have justifiable doubt that a foreign body based in Geneva, Switzerland, should be deciding what is best for a child at home in Utah.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), a proponent of the treaty, was flummoxed by the opposition.

“I’ve heard some of my Republican colleagues talk many times about making the rest of the world more like America,” he said. “I hate to think that now, when we have an opportunity to do that, they will retreat from the core conviction and oppose a treaty modeled on the United States example which has no recourse in American courts and no effect on American law.”

But don't ask for logic from these fools.

Dan Berschinski, a retired disabled U.s. Army captain, offered a lucid argument for ratification of the treaty. Sadly, the logic of his Washington Post Op-Ed eluded obstinate Republican senators. 

As the Political Carnival writes, "even Republican, 89-year-old disabled vet Bob Dole couldn’t sway 13 GOP senators to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty. And it was utterly shameful, a genuinely disgraceful episode."

This is a paraphrased version of the comments made on the Facebook page God Bless the President:

These are the GOP Senators who walked right past Bob Dole in a wheelchair who was there to petition the Senate to pass this UN Disability Treaty, which was more symbolic than anything. The Senate had a chance to show the world that the US, which already has a law to protect those with disabilities, cared about those who need support. 126 other countries have signed it. 

There was no reason to withhold support other than to demonstrate one more time that the GOP would sabotage anything put in front of them. These traitorous saboteurs are capable of anything, They hate our elected President way more than they love the USA.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell also had harsh words. O’Donnell accused these GOP senators of failing one disabled person in particular: former Republican Majority Leader Bob Dole, himself a disabled veteran, who was sitting in a wheelchair on the chamber’s floor.

“Bob Dole reached into their hearts and today found…nothing,” said O’Donnell. “With one word –no– they failed their old friend. They dishonored themselves and they dishonored the United States Senate.”

An example of the harm in not agreeing to the U.N. treaty is visualized in Greece. Disabled people, protested massive cuts to basic benefits by leaving their prosthetic limbs at the gates of their parliament.

See a video on the Greek Website NewsIt Greece HERE.

I had hoped to be able to celebrate the year since I published my disability-themed novel. I have been and continue to spend a lot of time researching the history of disability rights for the sequel to my novel Every Time I Think of You. While working to describe a time before the Americans with Disabilities Act (the book is set in the early 1980s), it's unimaginable to think that even today, such callous and self-centered acts continue in American politics.

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