Text of former Sen. Bob Dole’s letter in support of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Letter submitted by Senator Robert J. Dole, December 4, 2012, Statement on the Senate Vote on the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD):

I’d like to thank my former colleagues, members of the Administration, and many friends whose efforts have brought about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In their diversity they reflect America itself–I’m thinking of people including our former colleagues Tony Coehlo, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, and former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray–key leaders on the landmark and bipartisan 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. They have taken great pains to ensure that this treaty is in the best interest of our Nation, and reflective of the values that we all believe transcend any party label. I especially thank President George H.W. Bush for his indispensable leadership and support.

The approaching vote on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a proud moment for the Senate, the latest chapter of an untold story including the Americans that say: no first class democracy can tolerate second class citizens.

In recent years, we have recognized that people with disabilities are integral to our society, that we cannot afford to waste their talents, nor can we proclaim our beloved America demonstrably–the home of the brave, the land of the free–as we overlook the abilities that trump any disabilities. As the ranks of the disabled and their families swell, so does popular support for measures to ensure equality of access and opportunity. One way or another disability issues touch nearly every family in America.

Eight years ago, in dedicating the National World War II Memorial on the Mall, I tried to put into words what makes America worth fighting for–if need be, dying for. I spoke of the American promise, imperfectly realized and too long delayed for some of our fellow citizens–but a promise of individual opportunity and universal justice for which we all aspire. “This is the golden thread that runs throughout the tapestry of our nationhood,” I said, “the dignity of every life, the possibility of every mind, the divinity of every soul.” In ratifying the CRPD, we can affirm these goals for Americans with disabilities. We can join with our allies in entrusting the blessings of freedom to millions outside our borders. I urge your support of this important treaty and I thank you for your consideration.

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9 Comments on “Text of former Sen. Bob Dole’s letter in support of ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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