THE BLOG
11/05/2012 04:21 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2013

The Huff/Post50 'Yay! of the Day': I Have a Vote and I'm Not Afraid to Use It

Could there possibly be another more important reason to Yay! today than this?

I have a vote... and I'm not afraid to use it!

I don't think so.

WATCH: Your Vote Counts

We are part of the largest demographic in the history of the world. We are a political powerhouse and an economic force. We're also as worried about the economy, jobs and the state of the world as everyone else.

A recent report from AARP states:

The unemployment rate among people 55 and older fell one-tenth of a percent to 5.8 percent in October, according to an AARP Policy Institute analysis of the Labor Department employment figures released today. The average length of unemployment rose by two weeks, to 57.7 weeks. But the number of older long-term unemployed -- those out of work for more than six months -- inched down to 53.1 percent in October from 54 percent the previous month.

One could put a positive spin on these findings and say we're faring better than other age groups, but "flat" is not exactly encouraging news. No matter who is elected to lead our country this week, one thing is certain: The #1 priority must be the economy and 'growth' -- not keeping things 'flat.'

The situation is even more serious for older women than it is for men. According to a study published this year by OWL (Older Women's League National Board), women over 50 are in dire straits.

In the report, OWL, an advocacy group, begins its executive summary with some positive news by stating:

Midlife and older women are the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. workforce, and their participation in the nation's productivity is at an all-time high. As greater numbers of older women delay retirement, their presence in the workplace will continue to increase.

But, the report goes on to highlight a few of the stark realities of life as a woman over 50 in America:

The past few years of economic decline, slow recovery and related job cuts in state and local governments were particularly devastating for women. Along with the negative impact of the recession, older women workers are facing an array of obstacles in the workplace including age and gender discrimination; pay inequality; under-representation in business ownership, high-paying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs; caregiving demands and penalties; underemployment; and a lack of retirement security.

Generally speaking, women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn, and this disparity widens dramatically with age.

There are many issues this country needs to confront. But the Yay! factor here is we have a way to make our voices heard, to be a part of the change and to help fix what's broken: our vote.

With your vote you will be able to put your voice behind the person you truly believe is the one who can make things right again. Still not sure? Click here and here for an overview of where each of the candidates stands on key issues, especially those that are most important to the post-50 voter.

If dog whisperer Cesar Millan had his way, he would let the dogs of this country get out there and vote, too. Cesar believes the problem in America goes way beyond the economy and jobs, and what we have is a 'leadership crisis.' In a recent blog on The Huffington Post, he wrote:

In this election, candidates are talking about the economic crisis, the jobs crisis, and the housing crisis. But I don't believe any of those is the real crisis. What we have in America is a leadership crisis. Why? Because too many of our political candidates are offering solutions without addressing the root cause of the problems.

If we really want to be sure of the right outcome, then we need to know our Pack Leader has the right principles: honesty, integrity and trust. These are qualities that dogs pick up on right away.

Yay!

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For more tips on living your best life after 50 visit www.bestofeverythingafter50.com. Staying connected is a powerful tool! Keep me posted on how you're doing by subscribing to me on Facebook and "tweeting" me on Twitter at @BGrufferman. Check out my weekly columns on AARP and FOF, too.