Friday, July 25, 2014

CRPD: Words We Use Really Matter

There is no doubt that those of us who support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are fired up. Next Tuesday, July 29th (my birthday) at 12:15 p.m. at 3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Maryland Ave SW in D.C., just a few blocks from the Capitol, a march and rally will start. If you want to RSVP for it go to

I have been following what is being said about what's going on. Messaging is important. Two aspects that are particularly significant are statements that talk about the adverse consequences of the CRPD or statements about how Republican Senators will act. Today one example, stands out -- Daily Caller: Homeschoolers Confident They Can Sink Disability Convention,  by Blake Neff

Blake Neff interviewed Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations for the Home School Legal defense Fund. One quote from Will Estrada is this -- "We are concerned that activist judges could use this to, somewhere down the road, restrict parents from being able to homeschool". At another point Blake Neff  says that Will Estrada said that "he did not doubt the honesty or good intentions of those supporters, but it was necessary to look beyond the short term to what might happen many years after ratification." Estrada also said to Neff, "It's just a matter of time before this treaty is used by activists to roll back freedom we enjoy as Americans... A liberal, internationalist judge could run with this."

Will Estrada is ignoring the non-self-executing clause that is in the CRPD resolution that would PREVENT anyone, a judge or anyone else, from using treaty text to make the case for something.  Now, AND IN THE FUTURE, anyone could use ONLY U.S. law to make their case. Many people do not know or understand what the facts and implications are that will impact future events. They take comments by Will Estrada at face value and are scared.

Later in the article Blake quotes Estrada saying -- "enough Republicans will tow the line to halt ratification". That is an interesting phrase. It suggests that Republicans cannot think for themselves, or worse, that they are controlled by one constituency, home schoolers. At this point all Senators are aware of the broad and diverse support for ratification and the wide range of benefits that will result if the treaty were ratified.

The question I would like to put to Republican Senators who have not yet publicly stated where they stand on ratification of the CRPD is this:

Knowing what you know about how government works and the rule of law, would you vote against something because a small number of your constituents fear its unfounded future effects? I hope not.

Thank you.

Common Grounder

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