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Support Obama like your life depends on it

Teamsters Local 237 | , Gregory Floyd President | 10/19/2012, 12:05 p.m.
Defending pensions from a surprise attack

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.

This election is perhaps the most important in our lifetimes. Our country is split into two sides that have never seemed farther apart. One side 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.

Those are the stakes. They have never been higher. We must help 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 workers have a say about the direction of this nation.

Don't forget that we tried the other side's approach for many years--cutting taxes and business regulations and letting the rich do what they want--and it failed. It was not the wages or benefits of 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 brings 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 NYCHA's many problems. 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 and nationwide. If anti-government Republicans win the White House and Congress, public housing will be one of the first things they cut. The results will be more lost jobs, less affordable housing and even worse living conditions. Regardless of the latest polls, Romney certainly has a chance to win, which would be a disaster. It's important to vote, even though Obama will likely win in New York. I also encourage you to help in other ways, whether volunteering at a phone bank or donating a small contribution to Obama's campaign. Every bit helps.