A new low for the US

If one is disabled in any way, the US is among one of the best countries to live, as long as one is not poor. Thank to the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, it is much easier for disabled people to work and live productive lives here than in many parts of the world.

So you would think that when the United Nations adopts a treaty (the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) that is based on this legislation in order to try and extend these practices to the entire world, that the US would be proud to ratify it, especially since 155 countries have already signed it, 126 have ratified it, and it would require no changes to US law.

You would be wrong. Ratification of treaties requires a two-thirds majority in the US senate or 66 votes and they were able to muster only 61 with 38 members, all Republicans, voting against despite pleas from prominent past Republican president like George H. W. Bush urging them to vote in favor.

Why? Because of the usual paranoid fantasies of the Republican base that this was part of a plan to surrender US sovereignty to the UN and that homeschoolers in the US would suddenly be ordered to do things by UN bureaucrats. The execrable Rick Santorum supplied one more piece of lunacy by suggesting that the treaty might call for his own disabled daughter to die. You can see more examples of the unhinged rhetoric here.

Perhaps what was saddest was to see the clearly ailing Bob Dole, a longtime member of the Republican senate and their former leader and presidential candidate, making the difficult journey to the senate floor and appealing to his colleagues to do the right thing and being rejected.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report chronicled this shameful chapter.

(These clips appeared on December 5, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. cheesynougats says

    I think all of the Senators that voted against this treaty should be required to go to Bob Dole and explain to him, in person, why they voted against it. Then they should be required to stay there while Dole castigates them for being insane.

  2. Emu Sam says

    Somehow, we need to communicate that children have rights which cannot be abridged, too. Parental rights are not property rights.

  3. Psychopomp Gecko says

    You know, I believe in having at least two sane parties in U.S. politics. That’s why I’m against the existence of the Republican party in its current incarnation. Don’t worry, I’ve got my eye on the Dems too, but one party is more wrong than the other consistently.

  4. baal says

    It’s difficult to get passed just how small minded the Senators from Republican party has become. It’s almost surprising that they are not shunned everywhere they go (then again, they could be or only allow people who are employees near them).

  5. steve84 says

    That’s precisely the sticking point for these religious nuts. If children had rights that may mean they have the right to a proper education and to not be physically abused. Which may endanger the two main methods religious nuts use to raise their children.

  6. F [disappearing] says

    It’s only cool to sign an agreement or treaty if the US or one of its industries is dictating terms. Then everyone else should sign, and screw their sovereignty. Not even a consideration.

  7. Francisco Bacopa says

    Yes, Bob Dole would be perfect, a right handed man who had to learn to become left handed because of war injuries that left his right arm almost useless. Or how about Senator McCain? He has permanent damage to his shoulders and back caused by torture that prevents him from raising his hands more than a few inches above his shoulders.

    WTF America? This UN treaty was largely based on our 20 year old ADA laws and contains lots of “pro-lifer” language.

    This anti-UN bullshit is crazy. We have open primaries in Texas and I voted for Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in the Republican primary as soon as I saw ads here on FtB that said “Help Ted Cruz stop the UN”. Anyone why plays on anti-UN paranoia must be stopped, not because I think the UN is so great, but because UN paranoia is a warning sign.

  8. says

    Exactly. They want the right to mentally and physically abuse their children, and any acknowledgement that the children are people with rights too. The assholes opposing the treaty, for instance, are blithering about ‘the right of parents with disabled children to decide what’s best for them.” Fuck that. Medical fucking professionals are the ones who have the expertise to decide what’s best for people suffering from particular maladies. Just happening to share DNA with someone doesn’t give you any special insight about them, and quite a lot of parents make decisions that are very bad indeed for their children, disabled and otherwise.

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