IRRATIONAL EXTREMISM BLOCKS PROGRESS

ABSTRACT: The irrational extremism associated with the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party has just blocked progress for disabled people around the world by defeating ratification of a treaty. Radical Republicans used scare tactics and lies to defeat it. They ignored the support of 61 Senators including John McCain, of former President G. W. Bush, of every veterans group in America, and of former Senator Dole, who came to the Senate chamber to support the treaty in a wheelchair as an 89 year old, disabled veteran, and former Republican Presidential nominee. They ignored the fact that it would improve opportunities for 4.5 million children worldwide who don’t attend school because they are blind.

This is an example of how a small number of extremists in Congress is blocking progress for millions of people in the U.S. – and around the world.

FULL POST: The irrational extremism associated with the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party has just blocked progress for disabled people around the world by defeating ratification of a treaty. The treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is:

  • Based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed 22 years ago.
  • Supported by 61 Senators including John McCain as well as former President G. W. Bush and former Senator Bob Dole.
  • Ratified by 126 other countries.

Despite 61 votesin favor of ratification, radical Republicans used scare tactics and lies to defeat it. (Treaty ratification requires a 2/3s majority or 66 votes.) [1]

Because it is based on the ADA, the U.S. is already basically in compliance. But because it conflicts with Tea Party ideology that views cooperation with the United Nations and other countries as surrendering U.S. sovereignty, arguments were fabricated to defeat it. Tea Party types argued that it would threaten parents and home schooling because it says that disabled children have a right to education, and that it would promote abortion because it says that disabled people have a right to health care including reproductive health. They argued both that the treaty was toothless in forcing other countries to provide access for disabled persons and that it would tie the hands of the U.S. and force unwanted changes here despite the fact that the ADA is already in place. [2]

They ignored the support of every veterans group in America, who viewed it as supporting disabled veterans, and of former Senator Dole, who came to the Senate chamber to support the treaty in a wheelchair as an 89 year old, disabled veteran, and former Republican Presidential nominee. Among other potential treaty benefits, they ignored the fact that it would improve opportunities for 4.5 million children worldwide who don’t attend school because they are blind.

This is an example of how a small number of extremists in Congress is blocking progress for millions of people in the U.S. – and around the world.


[1]       Calvan, B.C., 12/5/12, “Treaty for disabled rights falls short in Senate,” The Boston Globe

[2]       Boston Globe Editorial, 12/6/12, “Tea Party scare tactics doom disabled treaty in the Senate,” The Boston Globe

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