There was former Senator Bob Dole in his wheelchair in the well of the U.S. Senate where he had served for decades as the distinguished Senator from Kansas. He was the Republican standard bearer in the 1996 Presidential race with Bill Clinton. He served as an infantryman in the hills of Italy in 1944. He was grievously wounded and spent months—even years fighting back to be able to fully rejoin an active public life. He and former President the elder H.W. Bush first championed and saw passed into law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Then in the 1990’s the United States proposed an international treaty through the United Nations that would bring an international ADA law, modeled on the U.S. law to all the nations of the world. Americans with disabilities traveling as business men and women, as travelers seeing the wider world, and as combat veterans of the United States armed forces who wish to do the same would all benefit in future years from such an international UN Treaty.
But thirty-eight United States Senators, all Republicans, displayed their utter ignorance, their fear, and their contempt for the disabled when they voted the UN Treaty down by 61-38. Our Constitution requires quite rightly that a two-thirds majority of the Senate approve all treaties our nation negotiates internationally.
Led by a small little man with little to recommend him, Senator Rand Paul of Tennessee, who objected to the treaty on grounds it would force business to do things it might not wish to do as in the United States led a quiet filibuster of the bill ratifying the treaty. The Senate managed as a body to push or have the treaty crawl back into that chamber for an actual ratification vote yesterday. Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth were both on hand to act as visual reminders of why this treaty should be ratified. Dole anxiously awaited one last hurrah as he had championed the idea of both the ADA and larger international treaty decades ago.
Hundreds of nations have ratified this treaty that is so just and is modeled after our laws and not theirs.
But it fell short, after pointed debate citing UN Black Helicopters and dire threats to United States Sovereignty. Neither is the least threatening in this case. They all must have just seen the re-make of the film Red Dawn. Was this to further gin up the right-wing Republican base so they might as a bunch of mad, foaming at the mouth diplomatic and international luddites scuttle the treaty?
In a word: YES.
The United States Senate was brought low yesterday. It shamed itself before the world. It ought to be the laughingstock of democratic legislative bodies the world over. To their credit Republican Senators John McCain and Olympia Snowe broke ranks and voted for the Treaty along with every single Democrat and Independent.
Rick Santorum, hurling a brick from afar wrote a piece that traveled the conservative blogo-bubble of misinformation that U.S. Sovereignty was threatened and the UN Treaty raising standards that protect and make more convenient travel and mobility of disabled persons worldwide be ratified by the Nation which began the effort originally was a bad idea.
Do these thirty-eight Republican Senators realize that by having the United Nations in New York City, we derive immense income from the presence of so many international diplomats; that we have the greatest and easiest access to these people to convince them that our diplomatic efforts are the correct ones; that we are one of only five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the only body that could ever vote and make stick the use of force by any nations or UN force. Other nations have only the privilege of sitting with the Security Council and voting on a rotating basis from year-to-year. That only the permanent five members: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia have a VETO power on any resolution the UN may care to pass that might impinge upon our sovereignty. They haven’t a notion of these things at all.
These people shit all over Bob Dole yesterday right in his presence on the Senate floor. They spewed their filth and showed their manifest fear, ignorance and xenophobia right in front of the world. They shit all over every single U.S. combat veteran coming back or who is back from any of our wars. The utter contempt and disgust Struggles for Justice holds for these “so called” United States Senators is profound.