By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
From Tinker To Evers To Chance
Disabled Americans had two men literally running on the political base paths and the game had entered the ninth inning with one out. The Bush administration fired a inside fast ball to the catcher, Disabled Americans tried valiantly to hit a single through the middle of the political baseball diamond only dribbling a weak liner precipitating a double play.
The Supreme Court ruled on the protections for Disabled Americans and the United Nations attempted to pass a treaty on International Disabled Rights. The UN succeeded while the United States failed.
The Bush Administration sent a brief to the Supreme Court in support of states rights vs. civil rights of disabled Americans. This is just another attack by this former administration on The (ADA) American with Disabilities Act passed in 1990. President George Hubert Walker Bush passed this law.
Yet President George W. Bush was not in support of ADA. The former President knew that the Senate and House would try to override his veto.
(1) The United States should play a leading role in the drafting of a thematic United Nations convention that affirms the human rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, and that–
(A) is consistent with the spirit of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, the United States Constitution, and other rights enjoyed by United States citizens with disabilities;
(B) Promotes inclusion, independence, political enfranchisement, and economic self-sufficiency of persons with disabilities as foundational requirements for any free and just society; and
(C) provides protections that are at least as strong as the rights that are now recognized under international human rights law for other vulnerable populations; and
(2) The President should instruct the Secretary of State to send to the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee meetings a United States delegation that includes individuals with disabilities who are recognized leaders in the United States disability rights movement…
The outgoing Bush administration ignored this House and Senate bill and continued to challenge the ADA Law piece by piece. A paraplegic had to climb two flights of stairs in the state of Tennessee to attend his own hearing in a public courtroom.
He had to drag his limp, heavy body up these stairs for two days. He did so because he would have been held in contempt of court if he did not appear in that courtroom.
Interestingly enough, the 19-year-old federal ADA law mandated that disabled Americans can no longer be locked out of buildings nor denied opportunities that are open to others.
A Disabled Tennessee resident sued the state for the lack of access during his trial. The state of Tennessee does not deny that most of the courthouses in the state are inaccessible.
They also state that the disabled plaintiff could have requested court offices to assist him by carry him and his wheelchair up any flight of stairs. Trust me any disabled person will tell you that it’s no fun being carried up any stairs with a 200-pound power wheelchair.
It is a harrowing experience. It is also health hazard for most disabled Americans. Everyone desires control of events around them, involving themselves this includes the disabled.
Court officials stated that they would have moved the case down to the first floor if they had known about the problem.
An elevator or a lift could have remedied this minor problem. This is still a major battleground for most disabled Americans.
The state of Tennessee insists that Congress went too far when writing the new ADA laws because the Federal law overrides Tennessee state law. The former Bush administration agreed with Tennessee.
They also state that this Tennessee resident had no right to sue the state. This is not the first time the issue of disabled Americans suing states has come to the public’s attention nor will it be the last.
The Supreme Court issue is not whether the state of Tennessee complied with the ADA law but, if the disabled resident, a private citizen, can ask the state for redress for his humiliating experience.
In 2003, The Supreme Court ruled stated disabled employees could not sue their employer for failing to comply with the ADA. This law should have placed safeguards against discrimination against the disabled in the workplace.
The State of Tennessee counted on this fact.
The State of Tennessee won the case. That means no private disabled citizen can sue the state of residence. Any future ADA enforcement would have to come from the federal government.
Many disabled Americans hope The Obama Administration reverses the Bush Administration’s decision. The federal government literally dragged their feet on these issues. They also deferred each case to the states during the past administration.
In the past eight years, poor disabled and immigrant Americans were denied the opportunity for redress. It limited an important way to force states to implement the requirements of ADA.
The Bush Administration set back disabled rights 20 years. The Supreme Court ruled against disabled communities throughout the United States. The question now is will our new President redress the issue of Disabled Rights.
TINKER, TO EVERS, FOR THE SECOND OUT
The United Nations drafted a World Disabled Rights Bill; This bill was a legally binding international treaty. The United Nations enforces the New World Disabled Laws. Laws the United States of America currently ignores.
The New World vision is in the planning stage and sounds very exciting. The United Nations Convention would affirm the human rights and dignity of disabled people. This also could mean the real political, social, and economic freedom for the Latino, Asian, and African Disabled.
This is a new and exciting avenue for the United Nations which brings various disabled issues to the world stage. The United Nations wants to follow the example of the United States and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
The goal is to make new disabled international laws. In the past the United Nations never addressed the political issues of people with disabilities. The exception was “The 1980 Celebration – ‘YEAR OF THE DISABLED’”.
The Bush Administration showed little or no interest in this historic event because for fear that the United States will be bound by International United Nations Law. This law treats disabled Americans with true honor and justice.
The United States has taken a back seat in this process because most conservative United States politicians think they that have an appropriate and adequate system in place.
Disabled Americans are also hoping that The Obama Administration will address this pressing problem.
The Bush administration never signed the treaty because of our domestic comprehensive law for the disabled. They used their legal states rights view to ignore the subject.
Each country would be entitled to enforce their own disabled law. This was the Bush strategy; once again the United States did not join the world community in a common goal for the common good of the world.
Remember eight years ago when the Bush administration refused to attend the United Nations Conference on Race Relations and The World Forum? The reason given was that it was not relevant to American domestic polices.
The real issue was that the former administration did not want to confront the issues of American slavery, property, homelessness, and the current lack of jobs by minority Americans.
Now The Obama Administration has to deal with all of these issues.
The lack of American participation in the New World Conference on Disabilities weakened the law proposed and it hurt the world-disabled movement.
Americans should tell all of their state representatives that they support the new visionary action taken by the United Nations. We should support House Bill Resolution 169 which is in favor of the new United Nations Treaty on Disabled Rights.
Congressional Resolution 169
Title: Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States Government should support the human rights and dignity of all persons with disabilities by pledging support for the drafting and working toward the adoption of a thematic convention on the human rights and dignity of persons with disabilities by the United Nations General Assembly to augment the existing United Nations human rights system, and for other purposes.
The main Sponsor was Representative Tom Lantos, of California and was introduced in 2003. The Latest Major Action came 6/12/2003 House committee/subcommittee actions.
Status: Ordered to be Reported by Unanimous Consent.
Without the United States participation in the World Conference on The World Treaty of Disabled Rights, the disabled double political play was completed.
EVERS TO CHANCE, the twin killing, ends the disabled political baseball rally. End of inning. According to our government under Bush, Disabled Americans can roll onto public transportation, roll to cover a sporting event, have access to interview, but not seek equal redress under the law.
With a new vision at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, maybe Disabled Americans can begin a new political baseball rally. “With a new wind at our backs, we take this journey across this great country, with the message that we carry, that out of many, we are one”. YES WE CAN! President Barack Obama.
Disabled Americans now have new hope in WashingtonD.C.