You know President Bush is pulling out all the stops when he warns that “the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses.”

We’re in one of those campaigns againthe ones where any dissent is called unpatriotic. Finally, though, it looks like a majority of Americans can see what the Bush administration’s critics have warned for yearsthat they will say or do anything, exploit any fear, invoke any prejudice to hold power. It has taken six years, but with every lie after scandal after indictment after death upon death upon injury in Iraq, it has become clear that this administration’s fight against terrorism is based on oil and ideology, not real defense and diplomacy, and their domestic policy is based on privatenot publicinterests.

The results are now clear to all: an invasion based on intentionally twisted intelligence; an occupation-turned-civil war because political decisions replaced military ones; environmental protections gutted to maximize corporate profits; economic policy that puts trillions of dollars of debt on our children’s shoulders while reducing the tax burden on the most wealthy; an assault on constitutional rights at home and support for torture abroad; and on and on.

We are paying the price in real wages that are stagnant in the face of puny raises, higher workloads, increased health costs and declining services. And there are the millions without health care, young people who can’t better themselves because of increased student loan costs, workers stuck with an impossibly low minimum wage, and small businesses that suffer when customers have to spend their money on our addiction to high-priced oil.

Instead, we should be making higher education more accessible, providing universal health care that takes the burden off individuals and employers, and developing green energy industries that will provide jobs and reduce the need for power plants that will cost us health and money in the long run.

It’s no wonder people are mistrustful of government. And that’s having an impact closer to home. In Wake County, voters are divided over the clear need to borrow money and pay for new schools to accommodate the sprawling growth brought to us by a development industry that dominates local and state governments. In Chatham County, those development interests were defeated at the polls in May and have placed a redistricting proposition on the ballot that would put them back in power.

This election is a first step toward undoing the damage that’s been done. Don’t take for granted optimistic reports that change is about to happen. Go vote this week, and tell others to, too. It’s not about America losingit’s about Americans winning.