The end of the year 2015 and start of 2016 has me thinking of things I wish for during the new year. Some of these things can only come from lawmakers. Others could come from organizations, politicians, the Veterans Administration, or police officers. It will be interesting to reach the end of 2016 and find out if any of these wishes, which many people with disabilities, seniors and veterans have, actually become reality.
Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
As the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states: "The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. 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."
Apparently, the United States of America has chosen not to promote, protect or ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities by failing to ratify the CRPD. The year of 2016 is an election year in America, one that might find a politician actually promising to ratify this crucial Convention. While the rest of the world is reaching for ratification of the Convention, America is, 'hemming and hawing,' over ratification.
Failure to ratify the CRPD, to me, makes it far more difficult to support politicians who have failed to support us as People with Disabilities. Instead of showing all people, with or without forms of disabilities, that the U.S. Government is actually there for people when they do experience a form of disability - the U.S. Government has signed and then promptly forgotten the CRPD. The excuses for failing to ratify run around the mouths of politicians in America I am quite sure. None of their excuses are worth the time to listen to them.
One of my wishes for the new year is that the lawmakers of America will actually ratify the CRPD and stop spitting out excuses for why they have not or cannot. Until the politicians of America do ratify the CRPD - I am someone who will never, ever respect anything else they do or say. The politicians of America are already on very thin ice where many people are concerned. Perhaps ratification of the CRPD will enable politicians to show they still have a shred of humanity left.
U.S. Department of Justice and Crimes Against People with Disabilities
The United States Department of Justice is biased against people with disabilities. Why do I say such a thing? Well... let's look at some statistics from the year 2012:
Perceptions of what disability means Must Change in America. Some of these violent crimes against people with disabilities were committed by Police Officers. Other violent acts against us were committed by nondisabled persons with no regard for human life, or the fact that we are indeed a part of this society.
The U.S. Department of Justice runs around serving everyone it seems, but the nation's largest minority population. The statistics above are beyond disgraceful. I question the abilities of those who are running the U.S. Department of Justice. One of my wishes for the coming year is that the U.S. Department of Justice will actually pursue those who commit violent crimes against us - whether the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer or not.
Real Efforts on the Parts of Politicians to Help Veterans
In Denver, Colorado sits a brand new hospital for veterans; it remains unfinished at this time. Efforts have been made to complete this hospital, but as a veteran I have never seen it. In fact - over the past year or so, three different doctors have quit working with the Pueblo, Colorado Veterans clinic. Why did these doctors quit? They quit because of a couple of reasons:
If only the VA could provide the health care it wants to. Please do not misunderstand me, there are some exceptionally skilled people working for the VA and I admire them. It is the VA itself that is causing loss of health care workers.
The VA has another issue it is facing - veterans and homelessness. Soldiers who have fought for America, as well as veterans who served here in our nation, deserve far better than to find themselves dumped by the government and left homeless. Veteran homelessness simply must end, it makes military service look like a one-way ticket to poverty and makes the American people and our government seem as if they just do not care.
One of my wishes for the coming year is for peace of course. Yet until the politicians of America finally stop this back and forth with ISIS, soldiers who served faithfully and honorably will continue to find themselves on the street. Peace could bring an end to this mistreatment of American veterans, although I also wish for vastly improved government and social treatment of veterans.
An End to Unnecessary Police Violence Against Civilians
It doesn't seem to matter what, exactly, is going on in particular situations - cops have a badge, a gun, and feel justified in shooting first and asking questions later in the name of, 'I feared for my life.' Some of the situations police find themselves in are ones where Talk, Not Guns, are the solution. When a young man who is upset comes at you with a baseball bat, it is time to de-escalate the situation by first attempting to find out what is wrong; for example, instead of pumping seven bullets into him and killing a young life over an emotional upset.
When a huge police department and its associated union seek to destroy evidence of wrong-doing, such as the Chicago P.D. is doing, it brings to the forefront the topic of, 'double-standards.' Understand that destroying evidence of a crime is indeed illegal in America. Honesty among cops in this police department is absent. What reason do people in Chicago, for example, have to trust or obey the police?
Personally, I will not call the police for Anything At All. Police have become a massive health risk, especially for people with disabilities and people of color. Sorry, police department - I will not vote to increase your funding until you re-discover your sense of humanity and patience.
One of my wishes for the new year is for the police officers of America to be held accountable for their violent, lethal actions. Tipping a person using a power wheelchair off of the gutter is reprehensible (Yes! The cops really did this!). Part of my wish is to find myself actually considering the possibility that I can trust a police officer again. Right now, cops are just another gang in America.
Let's find out what the new year brings. Let's find out if any of these wishes come true. I wish you a very Happy New Year, stay safe!