A missed opportunity to change the world
Last week 38 United States senators demonstrated the political disability afflicting Congress when they voted down an international treaty to help create better standards of living for disabled people worldwide.
Treaty ratification requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate. All 51 Democrats, both independents and eight Republicans provided 61 votes for the treaty, five short of passage, while 38 Republicans voted against it. They did so after warmly receiving former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, who appeared in a wheelchair to endorse the treaty.
Opponents claimed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, would diminish U.S. sovereignty even though it is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act and does not require any change to U.S. law. It has been approved by 126 countries.
What the treaty would do is make it easier for disabled U.S. citizens to travel abroad, where they more consistently would find the accommodations they need.
Instead, opposition senators chose to accommodate paranoid fantasies about lost sovereignty.
Sen. John Kerry, who said "the treaty is not about changing America, but America changing the world," should try again next year.