If you are in any disability community circles you probably have already heard that the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the United Nations treaty on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or CRPD. The no vote consisted of mostly Republican Senate members who gave the reasons that the treaty would threaten U.S. sovereignty and would impede parents of children with disabilities from having complete control their children's care. A closer look on the articles of the CRPD shows that these fears are unfounded and these so-called reasons might be a cover up for a hidden agenda to impede the political progression of the disability community.
The articles of the CRPD are available for the public to view at this site. When reading the treaty, most people will think it is reasonable policy that most countries can abide by to protect the rights of people with disabilities, with articles of the treaty stating that countries should be encouraged to raise awareness about people with disabilities and have an emphasis on accessibility for people with disabilities. None of the articles contain anything that will cause a country to have concern, especially a highly developed country like the United States.
The real reason for the Republicans' down vote of the CRPD must be thoroughly analyzed by the disability community if we are to progress politically to improve our social standing. If the Republicans feel they can vote down a treaty that will improve the lives of millions of people with disabilities internationally without any repercussions, then they will have no fear in harming our community again at the next chance for political gain. We already see this with the fiscal cliff debate with Republicans demanding drastic cuts to Social Security and Medicaid, two programs that provide essential aid to many people with disabilities. Their deal with the president might divert another recession, but it will have potential to cause much harm to the disability community.
What the Republicans, led by Senator Rick Santorum, did was to send a clear message to the disability community that they will never represent our goals, interests, or rights. With this vote they made it self-evident that they are a party that does not recognize the voices of people with disabilities as much as they do not recognize the voices of women, ethnic minorities, or people from the LGBT community. This fact is exemplified by their ignoring the pleas of former Republican Senator Bob Dole and current Republican Senator John McCain, who are both disabled, to approve the treaty. Even with both of these former Republican presidential candidates on the Senate floor did nothing to persuade their Republicans to change their vote.
We have clear adversaries in the Republican Party. They have clearly shown that they will throw us under the bus to fulfill their agenda. We have a duty to organize to make sure that agenda is stopped in its tracks.
Follow Lateef McLeod on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@kut2smooth