Over the past week I've been on the campaign trail in Ohio and Pennsylvania meeting people who are yearning for change. I can't begin to describe all the disappointments they've had over the last eight years of a rigged economy that has favored the privileged and left the rest of us behind.
What they've experienced, however, hasn't destroyed them. It's fired them up - and they have been working like never before to change America by electing Barack Obama.
While John McCain would like to make this election about fear and division, we all know it's about hope and unity. Most of all, this election is about what we must do together to restore opportunity, prosperity and fairness to our country.
This election is about the economy and jobs, health care and retirement security. Each day Americans are waking up to more bad news that threatens their families' futures. The people I've met have shared with me stories of lost jobs and devastated retirements, plants closed and communities in disarray. They've shared their struggles to make ends meet and to hide their growing uncertainty from their children.
But I've also been struck by how hopeful they've grown as Election Day nears. People are rising up to make a new day happen. They've become volunteers who are enthusiastically working for this campaign for change. More than anything, they want our nation to move forward with an agenda that values workers and their families. And they believe that our time is now.
Many of the people I've met have been members of my union and other unions in the labor movement. Indeed, the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association and Change to Win unions are all united. The values we stand for have never been more important:
• There is dignity in work and the work people do has value.
• We should reward work with good pay and benefits, and workers should have a voice on the job.
• People who have worked hard and played by the rules all their lives shouldn't have to struggle in their golden years - they should be able to enjoy the retirement they've earned.
These values have brought us together in common cause, with one goal: electing Barack Obama because he will fight every day on behalf of working people, and putting candidates in office at every level who will build with us a better America.
To achieve our goal, the AFL-CIO has deployed 250,000 union volunteers this year. Within AFSCME, 40,000 members have been volunteering along with more than 500 staff because we all know we cannot afford four more years like the last eight.
Our work is paying off. Among our members in battleground states, there is clear momentum for Obama on the eve of the election. In Ohio, for example, he's up 29 percentage points over John McCain - a 16-percent gain since August. What's moving people? The issues, plain and simple. Voters recognize that John McCain represents more of the same bad policies, bad decisions and wrong priorities that brought us to the terrible state we're in. And Barack Obama has the right priorities and the leadership ability to make real change.
In the end, of course, the only poll that really counts is the one on Election Day. So with just a day to go, we must knock on more doors, make more phone calls, and urge our families, friends, co-workers and neighbors to join us in voting for Barack Obama.
Barack Obama has asked us to believe that we have the power to change Washington. To change America. On Tuesday, we can show just how powerful we really are. The beginning of a stronger, better America is a day away and within our grasp.
Follow Gerald McEntee on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AFSCME