AMERICA is on the brink of a long, harsh and bitterly cold winter, with a looming recession that the GOP won't even admit to.
The policies of the current White House have brutalized our economy, yet the wealthiest think that everything is fine.
Rich Republicans just don't understand that millions are suffering. But many of their working class do, and they're beginning to abandon their own party.
When lifelong Republican Barney Smith told the Democratic convention that he'd vote for Barack Obama for president, he gave pause to even the most conservative members of his party.
Smith, like many disgruntled working-class Republicans, is ready to turn his back on his party because he's having such a hard time providing for his family. Like others, Smith fell victim to the loss of 3.2 million American jobs as factories closed or their work was outsourced to cheap labor markets overseas.
Poet Langston Hughes once wrote, "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly, Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams go, life is a barren field, frozen with snow."
Many wealthy folks live in a dream state and ignore people like Smith, whose tale of personal woe preceded Obama's acceptance speech.
He opposes John McCain because, he says, America can't afford another four years of failed GOP policies that have extended $200 billion in tax cuts to big corporations but not to the nation's 100 million families.
Our national debt has soared from $5.6 trillion to $9.6 trillion under Bush. The Republicans have overstayed their welcome and dragged us into a nightmare that must end soon, or this nation may be headed for chaos.
Obama tugged on the nation's heartstrings when he challenged McCain's tough talk and told the truth about the current policies.
Critics of the GOP believe that a four-year extension of the Bush administration will be disastrous. People are struggling, and the privileged are so out of touch they pretend it's OK that children go hungry.
Over the last eight years, we've lost 3.2 million jobs, and started a war that's cost trillions. The lies and deceit that got us into Iraq in the first place are just the tip of the iceberg and have ruined America's reputation across the globe.
Meanwhile, our economy continues to crumble, while crime, homelessness and poverty continue to soar.
Despite the fact that thousands of immigrants risk their safety to come here because this country may offer them better opportunities, the truth is that poverty lives right here in our own backyard.
Suffering is widespread as the gap between rich and poor widens. The Bush administration doesn't get it and neither does McCain. He is so out of touch that he hasn't a clue how many homes he owns, while the working class struggles to hold on to one.
The Democrats desperately need many more voters like Smith to cross party lines in order to secure the White House. Obama says electing him to the nation's highest office will not only help restore America's moral standing globally, but will lift the nation's low morale and improve our declining economy.
He promises to cut taxes for 95 percent of American workers and ease the burden for millions of families. And I believe him, although his critics say he's out of touch with the working class and blast him for not having a lineage that includes slavery.
But just because his ancestors never wore shackles, and he has paid off the student loans from his elite education doesn't mean he doesn't have compassion. Or that he doesn't understand the pain of those who live in dire poverty, who've lost their homes, who want yet can't afford college, and who lack health insurance.
His acceptance speech indicated that, unlike McCain, Obama gets it because hard times aren't so far behind him that his memory's been erased.
If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness - and hopelessness!
Plenty of Americans would rather stay in their dream state than to recognize the poverty sweeping across the country, right here, right now.
Obama understands that people are suffering. Every week, prices go up at the supermarket, and people are unable to feed their families. It already is dark and stormy for millions, who can't even afford pencils, book bags and lunch money for their children.
But when Obama wins the White House, we may just see a revolution that can turn the tide and improve this nation for everyone, not just a select few.
And I expect him to keep his word.*
Fatimah Ali is a regular contributor. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.