Sunday, May 4, 2014

If I Had Time with Senator Coats,This Is What I Would Tell Him about the CRPD

I was all set to write this post on a script we could use when implementing the "six degrees of separation" strategy I outlined my last blog post. Then, someone on the community Facebook page -- RatifyCRPD -- suggested I give an example of what I would say to Senator Coats of Indiana about the CRPD, if given the chance. So here goes --  

Senator Coats,

Thanks for being willing to hear from me.

You have a solid understanding and recognize the importance of alliances in today's world. You were ambassador to Germany. Last week you met with the Foreign Minister of Romania to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. You are calling for a stronger NATO presence in the Black Sea area. 

Serving on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Joint Economic Committee, you have a solid understanding and recognize the importance of businesses having opportunities to sell products not only in this country but abroad. 

Serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee, you are a strong voice for what it takes to keep us safe and increase the likelihood that the world will see more peace and less conflict. That is why I urge you to support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

In this ever shrinking world the U.S. should not and does not stand alone. It is a member of many alliances. In fact, on a voice vote, the first week of this month the Senate approved four international treaties dealing with fishing. The international partnerships the U.S. seeks go well beyond fish, to security, human rights, military alliances, and other forms of economic parity.

Sixty-one Senators support the ratification of the CRPD. Please consider being the next one to do so. People with disabilities around the world know the role that the Americans with Disabilities Act played in the development of the CRPD. But now they and their governments wonder why the U.S. is reluctant to ratify the treaty. The treaty will not change U.S. law. That has been established by legal scholars. It will not cost money. 

U.S. ratification of the treaty will give the U.S. a seat at the table to make suggestions and help set standards that will favorably impact America's technology, especially assistive technology, companies. It will give America a voice in making the processes of government more accessible and fairer to people in faraway countries. When people are focused on things like rights, accessibility, opportunities, and economic development there is less likelihood that there will be violence, denial of rights, and disruption of civil society. Senate ratification of the CRPD will give the U.S. the credibility, the right, and the power to persuade others to spend time on things that matter in the long term.

You are very conscious of the standing of the U.S. in the world. You are strongly opposed to things that weaken or diminish it or cause our intentions to be misunderstood or misconstrued. Having been in, out, and back in Congress, and being the grandfather of eight children, you probably have a clearer view of the meaning of legacy, the value of taking the long view and supporting things that will have a lasting, positive impact. Ratification of the CRPD is one of those things. Please help us mobilize your Senate colleagues to ratify the disability rights treaty. It really matters and it needs to be done now. 

Thank you.

Common Grounder

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