It seems like before every presidential election, we call it the most important one of our time. In truth, every presidential election is incredibly important. It decides who will be the leader of the free world and the commander in chief of the most powerful military on earth. Even more than that, it shows the national mood and says something about our values at the time.
That is why this election is different and more important. Our country is split into two clear sides that have never seemed farther apart. One side still believes in the power of government to do good and help all of us. The other is determined to tear down the government to further enrich the most privileged and let the rest of the people fend for themselves. The winner of the 2012 election will feel like their side has been given a mandate to remake the country in its image.
Those are the stakes. They have never been higher. We must help President Obama to victory, not just so he can remain president, but to demonstrate that the majority of Americans have chosen a leader who represents their interests. We must stand up and show that we want to live in a society where we are all in this together, not alone. We must prove that labor still matters and that middle-class working men and women have a say about the direction of this nation.
Don’t forget that we tried the other side’s approach for many years — where we cut taxes and business regulations and let the rich do what they wanted — and it failed. It was not the wages or benefits of average working-class New Yorkers and Americans that caused the recession and the spike in government debt. It was greedy bankers not content to make mere millions a year. They drove our economy to ruin and put our governments’ budgets and pensions in the challenging financial position from which they now must fight to recover.
Mitt Romney firmly believes that private enterprise is superior to government. That is why we must stop him before he is able to bring the same destructive ideas to the federal level. That is the same attitude that led to the demise of public housing throughout our country. We’ve seen again and again that privatization can destroy rather than improve public services. Locally, we are helping bring attention to the many problems at NYCHA. Local 237’s newly created NYCHA Task Force, comprised of union and community representatives, is dedicated to providing solutions that will fix public housing for residents and workers alike. That is a good example of the power we have if we work together and use our voices to make real change. We must continue to push for change here but also all around the country. If anti-government Republicans win the White House and Congress, public housing will be one of the first things that they cut. The results will be very real and immediate: lost jobs, less affordable housing and living conditions getting even worse.
Regardless of what the latest polls show, Romney certainly has a chance to win, which would be a disaster. It’s important to get out and vote, even though Obama will win in New York with no problem. I encourage you to help in other ways, whether volunteering at a phone bank or donating even a small contribution to Obama’s campaign. Every bit helps.
Our efforts can raise awareness across the country as Americans head to the polls in November. We are at a critical moment, when widespread determination to defeat Obama will compel conservatives to come out to the polls. Driven by their anger, conservative voters will show up in droves and could change the course of history. In such an environment, our members must understand that doing nothing is the same as voting for the other side. We must mobilize and win this election, not just for ourselves, but for the entire country. It’s a decision about the kind of country we want to be in for the next four years. It’s just that important.