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Regaining Strong Political Support from People with Disabilities

  • Published: 2011-08-06 : Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
  • Synopsis: The debt ceiling debate has left many people with disabilities wondering if they can trust the Republicans or Democrats ever again.

Main Document

The debt ceiling debate has left many people with disabilities wondering if they can trust either the Republicans or the Democrats ever again.

"Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." - The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The debt ceiling debate has left many people with disabilities wondering if they can trust either the Republicans or the Democrats ever again.

As we watched, the Republicans used us as a form of, 'bargaining chip,' in an effort to pry power and political economic points away from a Democratic-controlled Senate and Presidency. The debate lasted seemingly forever as we witnessed a government that placed greater value on the corporations of this nation than the lives of people with disabilities who need supports such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and VA Benefits in order to remain above poverty and receive health care.

With our very supports being tossed around like poker chips in some kind of government power-play game, the levels of trust among people with disabilities in America in relation to politicians may be understandably low. Are we to turn our backs on the politicians of America in similar fashion as many of them have seemingly done to us? Are we to look upon Republicans as an evil to be denied any respect or recognition whatsoever? Are we to look upon the Democrats as politicians who have let us down

Image of John BoehnerBear in mind the fact that the Republicans would have made drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, as well as VA Benefits if the Democrats had not stopped them.

The Ryan Plan would have done more than enough to harm the safety net of people with disabilities and seniors. The fact also remains that these programs were even up for debate during this debt-ceiling crisis in the first place; something that should never, ever have been allowed to happen. Consider the fact that America recently had a Democratic-controlled House, Senate, and Presidency.

"Discrimination on the basis of disability" means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation..." - The CRPD

So how can the Democrats regain the strong support of Americans with Disabilities? Recently, a woman was refused the ability to take her injectable insulin, a needed medication, onboard an airplane with her. She was pregnant and the potential for harm to not only her, but her child as well, was incredible. Yet a TSA Agent with about as much medical and disability knowledge as a spark plug denied her this medication. Unfortunately this, 'incident,' is far from being the only one involving a person with a health condition, form of disability, a senior, or a veteran of the armed forces with a disability. One of the things Democrats can do to re-build support from people with disabilities in America is to put some teeth in the Americans with Disabilities Act and put a leash on the Transportation Safety Administration.

Image describing the purpose of the CRPDAmericans with Disabilities need to know we will not be punished for the spending of this or any other administration.There are several war fronts America is and has been involved with over years of time that have cost this nation more than a Trillion Dollars. Corporation after Corporation in America evades federal taxes every single year. Is it any wonder many people with disabilities feel as if we are being punished and made to pay for the misdeeds of corporations and the wars this nation pursues? We need to know our supports will never be yanked out from underneath us.

"Convinced that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, and that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities..." - The CRPD

If I had the President's ear I would say:

"Dear Mr. President,

It would be nice to take my 40% rated disabled veteran husband to a Broadway show like you have with your wife, but it really wouldn't please me. For one single day's cost of what it takes to keep you and Michelle happy in the White House, I could make the entire complex my husband and I live in Americans with Disabilities Act accessible and compliant. It is currently inaccessible to not only my husband, but many other people with disabilities and seniors and would cost $300,000 to upgrade. The elevator does not go to our floor, for example. The building was put up in a year that is not covered by the ADA, and the United States Government has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Image of the cover of, 'It's About Ability'While Michelle and your children have traveled the world, my husband struggles to make it up eight steps and into the hallway in order to get through the door of our home. How many others with disabilities experience the same thing, Mr. President? Why hasn't the Senate ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities like more than 100 other nations around the world? From a ratification of the CRPD perspective, Mr. President, America is in league with Libya.

Mr. President, while the Republicans in office make every single effort they can to tear apart what supports we have, it is vital for the Democrats in office to do everything, everything they can, to ensure our rights remain intact. Protecting our rights demands the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities become ratified, along with its protocols, prior to the upcoming election in 2012.

Thank You, Mr. President, for your attention and time,

Wendy Taormina-Weiss"

The very best thing the Democrats in office, both through the Senate and the Presidency, can do to regain the support and trust of Americans with Disabilities is to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Protocols.

The CRPD affects not only people with disabilities, but seniors and veterans with disabilities as well through a number of rights protocols. Failure to ratify the CRPD prior to the upcoming elections in 2012 would send a message to every single person with a disability, senior, and veteran with a disability in America. The message would be, 'We don't care about you, and we don't have the time.'

Image of a UNEnable logo"Convinced that a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities will make a significant contribution to redressing the profound social disadvantage of persons with disabilities and promote their participation in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres with equal opportunities, in both developing and developed countries..." - The CRPD

Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities tells the entire world that America cares about the rights of people with disabilities, to include veterans with disabilities.

The good-faith gesture of merely signing the CRPD simply is not enough. America must ratify the Convention. As people with disabilities, we need to know this nation still cares about our rights, and is willing to enforce them with more than just a word.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -

'It's About Ability:
An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' -


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