Senate vote on the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

Let’s not talk about “disability.”

Let’s talk about “equity.” “Leadership.” “Representation.” And so many other things that comprise the job of a United States Senator.

When I think of a senator, I think of my boyhood as the son of a national Capitol Hill correspondent. I was incredibly fortunate enough to have inside access: I attended a few congressional hearings, I sat in the press galleries above the Senate and House floors, I shook hands with Senators and Representatives. I watched, with the awe and reverence of a boy, government in action.

So, as an adult, perhaps I hold our leaders even more accountable for their actions. And their actions this week – regarding the Senate vote Tuesday on the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” – are petty, cold, and even irresponsible.

Honestly, I’m not going to say it better than the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry: “This is one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wakeup call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people, We need to fix this place because what happens and doesn’t happen here affects millions of lives. Today the dysfunction hurt veterans and the disabled and that’s unacceptable.”

But here’s what I am going to say (not more eloquently, but more strongly, than Sen. Kerry):

Prove it, Senator – show that it’s unacceptable. This is no time for lip service, because the momentum, the structure, the political tide indicates that a vote on this treaty will be re-introduced in the next legislative session. Don’t back off now. You, and other leaders, are in power – and you must speak truth to power: “… What happens and doesn’t happen here affects millions of lives.” This isn’t about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is time to do what’s right, it is time to lead, it is time to represent the under-represented.

This is not a set back, America – this is an opportunity.

What can we – as constituents, as citizens – do to help?
Call your senator and express your support for the treaty


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