More about the autor

Midday Matinee – On Wheelchairs and the ADA

December 5, 2012

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – On Wheelchairs and the ADA

My mom had MS and spent the last 20 years of her life in a wheelchair. Yesterday the Senate vote to not ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was pathetic. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Republican opposition to the treaty meant that it was not ratified. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is modeled on the Americans With Disabilities Act signed by the first President Bush. It would have required no changes to US law. The treaty was negotiated by President G.W. Bush in 2006 and signed by President Obama in 2009. Democrats and 8 Republicans voted for it and it failed by 5 votes.

Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte (NH), John Barrasso (WY), Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Dick Lugar (IN), John McCain (AZ), Olympia Snowe (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted with Democrats in favor of the treaty.

I am sending them thank you emails.

I took my mom to D.C. after my dad died. He had been there and she never had. It was one of her dreams. Mom only weighed 100 pounds but lifting her in and out of her wheel chair and electric scooter several times a day was definitely something I should have trained for beforehand. D.C. is a dream for people with disabilities. The ramps are close to the front doors of most buildings, the elevators are big enough to easily accommodate wheel chairs, and they take you to the front of the line at monuments. The city is a model for making things accessible. Mom and I were lucky that we made our trip after the first President Bush signed the ADA. Back home, the only times we had trouble was navigating the snowbanks at Thanksgiving and Christmas. 100 pounds doesn’t sound like much but at some point, the MS patient has no muscle tone. They can’t help. I look at caregivers pushing much heavier people in wheelchairs and I thank god my mom was so tiny.

Besides people like my mom and others with a variety of disabilities we have lots of disabled veterans. The purpose of the treaty was to use our legislation as a model for the rest of the world. Shame on Sen. Mike Lee (UT) and the other 37 Republican senators who voted against this. The Senators all walked by former Sen. Bob Dole sitting in a wheelchair. He was present to urge passage of the treaty.

I doubt something as brief as a Midday Matinee could capture the daily struggles of living with any disability or being a full time car giver. I do know that the ADA treaty would have made life better for disabled people around the world. The rest of the world is probably wondering what the heck is wrong with the US that even something that is already our law becomes some sort of political football. I wonder too and I weep.

2 Responses to “Midday Matinee – On Wheelchairs and the ADA”

  1. NCrissieB Says:

    Thank you for this, addisnana. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – initiated by a former U.S. president and based on U.S. law – should have been a no-brainer for ratification. Instead, Senate Republicans blocked it because … well … just to stick their thumbs in President Obama’s eye, apparently. It was, as you say, pathetic.

  2. winterbanyan Says:

    This was indeed a pathetic act by useless, disgusting, inhumane Republicans. We have a model law in this country. While it is is not perfect, by any means, it’s still a model the rest of the world desperately needs. Until you have been in a country that makes no accommodation for the disabled, you do not realize how much the smallest things can matter to the disabled and their caregivers.

    The refusal to ratify this treaty puts the hard hearts of the opposition out in plain view for the world to see. They had no good reason, other than to once again oppose something for the sake of opposing it, and without thought for the harm they were doing.