In 2012 your vote will count more than ever

caines | 1/11/2012, 7:32 a.m.

The year 2011 will be remembered as one of change and challenge. After the financial breakdown of 2008, frustrated Americans began taking to the streets and expressing their discontentment with the status quo. Issues such as high unemployment and massive home foreclosures were at the top of protesters agenda. In addition to the street demonstrations protesters also utilized the power of the vote as strategic move to challenge elected officials to a recall. In some cases this strategy successfully ended careers including that of Miami-Dade Countys strong Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Recalling elected officials became popular in 2011 and seems to be continuing right into 2012. Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker is also facing a recall vote for his unprecedented attack on organized labor unions and public sector employees. As long as politicians preferred methods to balance their budgets is to take money out of the pockets of public workers there will be demonstrations, protests and recalls of politicians. After four consecutive years of high unemployment, a sluggish economy and the expansion of big banks many Americans have lost faith and want solutions. Working people, especially those of the middle class and working poor as well as students overburdened with loans, are organizing and demanding a system of economic justice. At a recent Miami-Dade County budget hearing thousands of frustrated residents, county employees and union representatives signed up and waited in line for hours to bring their concerns before the Board of County Commissioners. In Wisconsin, public sector employees demonstrated and staged a massive sit-in for several weeks at the State Capital protesting Walkers controversial bill. We can expect to see a wave of movements like the Occupy Wall Street as long as elected officials continue to balance the budget on the backs of public workers, even the working poor, while giving tax breaks and stimulus dollars to the very wealthy and corporations. Several very important elections are scheduled for 2012. In addition to electing the U.S. president and Miami-Dade County mayor, other important races will help determine the quality of life for all of us. We must be informed about the pertinent issues before Election Day and should stop voting based on name recognition, ethnicity, race, gender or religion. Labels should not be why we are voting. We must vote based on solutions and answers. Our vote is for a better quality of life for all people. We must insist on politicians telling us what they plan to do and how they plan to do it. In 2012 voters must hold politicians accountable to what they say they will do. We need to know how things will change if we elect a candidate. If voters become engage and ask the right questions in the election process they will likely call it right the first time and there will be no need for recalls. By Queen BrownCommunity ActivistQueenb2020@bellsouth.net