Wednesday, November 5, 2014

CRPD: What Should Happen Post-Election?

Campaigning highlights differences among candidates, not common ground on issues or similarities on the role of government. A small portion of those eligible to vote, voted. Media coverage said that young and minority voters were especially scarce. One of the reasons given for the 38% voter turnout was government gridlock.

No one can dispute that we have a "new day" ahead of us with the success of the Republicans in capturing control of the Senate. Those of us who have a strong interest in immediate ratification of the CRPD have an opportunity. We should urge Senators Reid and McConnell to let Senate process proceed to a vote on the CRPD. It is an affirmative move with broad implications.

First, it will demonstrate that both the current and future leaders of the Senate agree a tested Senate process should play out on the CRPD. After all, this is a democracy. Senators have the right and obligation to let the American public know how they view the CRPD.

Second, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the CRPD call for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability. Any individual with a disability should have access to opportunities (in education, health care, employment, training, housing, leisure, and more) available to others and be a full participant and contributor to community life. Such principles are universally endorsed and should know no borders. Senators should embrace the chance to reaffirm these principles for the nation and the world. After all, disability rights have experienced a long history of bipartisanship in the U.S.

Third, 151 countries have ratified the CRPD. We need to let the rest of the world know where the U.S. stands. We need to get the Senate vote on the CRPD behind us, so we can move on.

A large number of Senators should want a vote on the CRPD. Senators who are retiring or leaving the Senate will welcome a vote on the CRPD to add to their legacy. Senators who have offered support for the CRPD in meetings, in hearings, correspondence, and statements, will finally have the chance to take the only action that really matters. Senators, who have asked us to wait till after the election, who needed more time, can let us know unequivocally where they stand. Senators who have a new six-year contract with their constituents, can cast a vote that is right and safe. Senators who want the CRPD to be defeated soundly can test their powers of persuasion during debate.

If you agree with me, let Senators Reid and McConnell know.

Thank you,
Common Grounder