Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Modern Gop Has Its Own Disabilities

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Modern Gop Has Its Own Disabilities

Article excerpt

This idea may be on the perverse side, but the sooner the Antichrist reveals himself, the sooner the Republican Party can stop holding the rest of the world hostage to its irrational fears and superstitions.

This week, GOP senators topped themselves in the paranoid sweepstakes by voting down the United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled. Some of them argued with straight faces that an international treaty calling upon citizens to treat the disabled with fairness is an assault on American sovereignty.

Ratified by 155 nations with human rights records as disparate as China and Russia on one hand and France and Britain on the other, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

As the ADA has done for this country over two decades, the U.N. treaty would establish a model of care and accommodation based on our national experience. It would set the bar to an equivalent level for the world's 650 million disabled people.

The U.N. treaty affirms the dignity of disabled people while reiterating their value to our communities. It calls upon all signatory nations to uphold the principle of non-discrimination against citizens with mental and physical handicaps.

What's so nefarious about making reasonable accommodations in the workplace and in public life for people with disabilities? Ask the 38 Senate Republicans who scuttled the vote by denying the unanimous Democratic supporters and seven fellow Republicans the two-thirds super-majority needed for ratification.

"I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," croaked Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a longtime subscriber to the theory that the U.N. -- besides being the devil's footstool -- is a front for a trans-global conspiracy to undermine our independence while sapping our precious bodily fluids.

Instead of viewing the treaty as a validation of "American exceptionalism" when it comes to the treatment of the disabled, 38 Republicans detected a back-door threat to American sovereignty, the home school movement and the authority of families dealing with disabilities. …

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