Election 2014: We Demand a Shot at the American Dream

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It's been a rough four years for the women, men and children living on the margins in this country. Those margins have gotten a lot more pronounced and swallowed up a lot more folks in states run by extremist, right-wing governors.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than here in Florida, where Wall Street's heinous financial schemes devastated families from the Panhandle to the Keys, and the housing market that had pumped money through the state like a fire hose collapsed suddenly.

In 2010, politicians seized upon the frustration of Florida citizens just trying to get by in conditions neither they nor their governor created. Nationwide, we've seen the impact of governors and other politicians who care more about the corporate pals who helped them take power than the people who have been harmed by that power. Across Florida, families are feeling the effects of bad policy that prioritizes tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

They feel it at the kitchen table when they sit down at night to try to pay their mounting bills. When their retirement is anything but secure. When they can't afford to send their children to college. When they can't make a down payment on a house.

These aren't extravagant desires. Enough money to survive, quality education for our children, peace of mind in our golden years, a modest home to call our own -- these are the basic building blocks of the American dream.

But for the past four years, these governors told the American people that they didn't deserve a shot at that American dream. They demonstrated that they were willing to sell us out with every sweetheart tax deal, every slashed school budget, every taxpayer dollar outsourced to a private company, every obstacle thrown up to block access to the voting booth.

On Tuesday, Election Day, the American people have an answer for politicians who say we do not deserve better: You are utterly wrong.

Across Florida, there is a sense that change is coming, as we pull together to knock on doors, phonebank, rally, and get out the vote any we they can. We are ready to put their state back on track by electing leaders who stand with us. It begins with one simple action: We vote.

Our vote is our voice. Our belief in hard work and a level playing field are our unwavering values. Our American dream is not for sale. 

Lee A. Saunders is President, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO

Follow Lee A. Saunders on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AFSCME



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