By Selwyn Harris
Local high school students are paying much attention to the 2012 Presidential election.
On Monday, several students at Pahrump Valley High School PVHS offered their opinions about the election, the candidates and social issues facing the country.
O.J. Ringo, a 16-year-old sophomore, said one of his main concerns is about the state of the U.S. economy.
“I feel like some of our debt came from the wars we were fighting and the troops are still dying. I think the best candidate is Obama. We were already in debt when he was elected and the only way he helped us is he put everyone on healthcare. If you are living on the streets, at least you have some kind of support.
“Mitt Romney is making it sound like if you are homeless, you have no backbone. You have to go to work and you have to do this and that but how are you going to do that if you have nothing to start with, so I would have to say Obama,” he said.
Taetae Brown, a junior who turns 18 next month, believes that for the most part Romney seems to make better points in terms of talking about the economy, but he still would like to see Obama win a second term.
“Romney makes good points, but he doesn’t explain how he can pursue those points and I feel that Obama has a better plan. He said he would cut the debt in half in four years, but nobody can do that so he needs more time to execute his plan and I feel like once he executes his plan, we will be better as a country,” he said.
Brown also noted that nothing ever gets accomplished when a president enacts policies during the first term but does not get the opportunities to fully see them through.
“He knows what he is doing and he already has a plan in motion. If we get a new president in the office, then he will change all of those plans and start everything all over again. If you keep Obama in there, he knows what he is doing and he can execute it. He took the four years he already had to shape the plan now he just needs four years to execute the plan and once he executes the plan I think we will be alright,” he said.
As far as other issues are concerned, Brown said the country needs to focus more on its own people and forget about fighting unnecessary wars.
“The economy is very important and so is Medicaid and Medicare. We really don’t need to be fighting any more wars. We should just bring everybody back and focus on bringing the economy back and getting out of debt. That’s the main focus: the debt,” he said.
Though Brown and Ringo are not of voting age, a recent national survey conducted by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement CIRCLE and commissioned by the Youth Education Fund, shows that the intention to vote among young voters rose 9.9 points last month when compared to a previous survey this past summer.
The same survey also showed that there is substantially more enthusiasm for the president than that of his opponent.
At the time of the most recent survey, numbers showed that the president would win the youth vote by 17 percentage points, 52.1 percent to 35.1 percent.
CIRCLE Director Peter Levine noted that though the intention to vote rose to nearly 10 points this fall, overall enthusiasm is down compared to the 2008 election.
“President Obama has a majority of young voters behind him, but a significant proportion are open to voting for Governor Romney, who has a clear opportunity to improve over John McCain’s record low support in 2008,” he said.
PVHS student Robert Hendricks noted that he has problems with the messages that candidates convey.
Hendricks suggested that too many times, the candidates seemed disingenuous.
“All of the things that those candidates say like with the ads we see on TV and all of those debates, you don’t really know for sure what they are really about until they get elected because a candidate will say what he wants to get elected and you don’t know if it is true or not. You can only find out what they really believe when they get elected,” he said.
Of the students who provided comment on the 2012 presidential election, all said they plan to vote once they reach the age of 18.
Interestingly, not one had an opinion on any local races.