A Not So Merry Christmas for American Disabled
Author: Disabled World
Synopsis and Key Points:
People with Disabilities struggle with cutbacks to Social Security, failure of U.S. to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and minimal increase in Cost of Living Allowance.
Main DigestThe Christmas and Holiday Season is a time of year for family, friends, good cheer and celebration for many people in America. For People with Disabilities, it is just as much a holiday-filled time of year as it is for everyone else, although the year 2012 finds us with much to reflect upon where our financial standing, rights, and more are concerned. While able-bodied persons in America complain and moan about a lack of jobs, politics, and the continuing financial crisis in America, People with Disabilities struggle to face things such as cutbacks to Social Security, the failure of our nation to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a minimal increase in the Cost of Living Allowance, and express concerns about America as a model of disability rights for the entire world.
One of the pressing matters we face as people who must also deal with forms of disabilities in our lives is the impending, 'fiscal cliff,' so hotly debated among our political leadership. After watching major corporation after major corporation receive bailout money to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars, one can only wonder how representatives of Congress want to cutback money to those who can least afford it such as seniors, people with disabilities, children, and veterans and still maintain some kind of composure and claim to be honest with those who voted for them. To some, the financial actions being proposed and taken by members of Congress can only be viewed as the lowest and dirtiest, the meanest and cruelest actions that could possibly be taken by supposed, 'leaders,' of a nation.
Many of the same leaders are also responsible for the failure of America to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which makes America look utterly cruel and sadistic in front of the entire world. The leaders of America who voted against ratification of the CRPD essentially slapped every last living veteran who has served this nation with the mission of improving conditions for others in every nation any American soldier has ever served in, telling them in essence, 'your mission was pointless.' Why should anyone at all serve in the Armed Forces to improve the lives of people in other nations if America is simply going to tell the world, 'We don't value the People with Disabilities living in your nation'
The leadership of America promptly turned around and stated that America is the very model of Disability Rights for the rest of the world, making this writer ill. After experiencing a service-connected disability while in the service, thoughts of the meaning behind that service now arise. How many other veterans now look at the leaders who failed to ratify the CRPD as they live with life-long forms of disabilities arising from their service and wonder just what kind of dog and pony show is in Washington, D.C.It would seem there are just enough loser representatives in America to make the entire nation look cruel, careless, thoughtless, and unfeeling.
During an election year, failure to at least present America's largest minority population - People with Disabilities, as well as Seniors and Veterans, with any kind of increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) would have found the politicians seeking votes frowned upon endlessly. Of course, the increase provided was so minimal it may as well not have existed at all. As People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Veterans we pay far, far more for everything from food to gasoline than this pathetic increase in the COLA will ever come close to covering.
Efforts are being made to help us find work, but what is the current unemployment rate among People with Disabilities? It is nowhere near acceptable, and I can't bear to mention it anymore. We have always had the highest rate of unemployment in this nation, something that should speak to every single other nation in the world. Some example, America, of what Disability Rights means.
While America's politicians get up in front of the rest of the world and claim that this nation is the example of Disability Rights for the remainder of the entire world, they had better remember their own failures and reconsider. The rate of homelessness remains constant, for example. Despite the efforts of the Veterans Administration, the backlog of veterans claims is so unacceptable it should be a constant reminder of why this nation should never go to war again - America cannot take care of the veterans it produces from such conflicts. The facts certainly do not keep the politicians of this nation from taking constant vacations and eating lobster cocktails on the taxpayer's dime.
During this very Christmas and Holiday Season, there are People with Disabilities, Seniors, Children, and Veterans who are going to food banks. They are wondering if they will be able to pay the rent, utility, and other bills. They are wondering if they are going to end up in an institution, or if they will receive an education in the coming year. There are People with Disabilities who are wondering if the bus or transportation systems they need to use to get to their doctors will continue to exist. They are wondering if the costs of simply living will find them homeless and living on the street.
But then, America is the model of Disability Rights for the rest of the world, we know this because our leaders have told us so. Despite the persistent presence of inaccessible voting places during a major election cycle, they tell us we voted for them and so we must want them. They tell us that they were elected, 'by the people.' As a writer, questions arise surrounding the legitimacy of certain representatives in this nation. One day, we may have more than an, 'either-or,' choice in America.
At least we still have each other, and that is more valuable than all the gold in the world. As a community, People with Disabilities know how to help each other, care for one another, and love each other. We are resilient out of necessity and we know how to survive - we have been forced to. Because of these facts, we must now support each other more than ever, and enjoy what we can this Holiday Season.
People with Disabilities and the Fiscal Cliff
As Janie Lorber writes for Roll Call, the $55 billion drop in the Pentagon's 2013 budget would first and foremost eliminate "the very projects most suitable for the disabled," including the contract services provided by AbilityOne that employs people with disabilities in operations and maintenance positions at military bases across the U.S.
Republicans Defeat Ratification of the U.N.'s 'Rights of Persons With Disabilities' Treaty in Senate
The treaty has been signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. Supporters like Kerry said that the treaty requires no changes in U.S. law, that a committee created by the treaty to make recommendations has no power to change laws and that the treaty cannot serve as a basis for a lawsuit in U.S. courts.
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2013
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013.
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