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To vote or not to vote?

vote or not to vote
When the executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender learned that I would vote for the very first time in the Aug. 7th election, he declared me the “perfect” summer intern for the assignment of identifying and talking with two eighteen year olds with nearly polar opposite views of participating in the electoral process.
 
My conversations with Taira Boltze and El’Keenan T. Liggins are the fruits of my journey of discovery. 
 
Candidates with ‘righteousness, braveness and willingness’
 
Taira H. Boltze has taken all the steps needed to do something on Aug. 7th that she never has done before – vote.
Boltze, 18, will cast her first ballot in the Federal and State Primary and Shelby County General Election. She places herself among the first-time teenage voters who are observing candidates closely, probing for strengths and weaknesses.
vote
The 2014 Millington Central High School grad registered at the school. Yes, she has her voter’s registration card and she knows where to go to join the voting public.
 
Nitoria M. Itson-Alexander: What do you expect to gain from the candidates or what do you think they should bring to the table?
Taira H. Boltze: I think the candidates should bring righteousness, braveness and willingness to the table. They should also provide us with better intentions and decisions on making our home a better and safer environment for us to live in and for those who visit.
 
NMIA: How do you plan on determining your vote?
THB: I plan on determining my vote by acknowledging the qualities that each and every candidate has. For example, what are the positive aspects they have provided for the community? Have they been involved in the community, are they still? Or are they giving false hopes…
 
NMIA: What do you think is a serious problem or problems in Memphis that politicians need to really focus on?
THB: We have a horrible ongoing financial situation in Memphis that needs to be solved. We don’t have any entertainment in Memphis to bring money in Memphis and that might be the leading cause to the situation. Teenagers and adults complain about the living situation in Memphis. There is not (a) source of strong income. 
 
As teenagers and young children, we had the pleasure of spending time at Libertyland on the weekends, school breaks, and summers. In addition, we had the Mid-South Fair, which was also taken away. The limited entertainment we have now is too expensive. For example, the movie theater, the price has sky rocketed from $7.50 to $10 in the last couple of years. How are people going to be able to afford that with financial difficulties?
 
Another problem will be the job opportunities, which tie into the entertainment cost. With the scarce number of job opportunities and those that do choose to hire, people are barely making a living. They can’t possibly pay for the outrageous cost of the little entertainment we have after paying bills. 
 
In recent elections, no ‘effective change in the city’ 
 
 
El’Keenan T. Liggins is old enough to vote on Aug. 7th, but he has chosen to take a pass on that opportunity.
 
“I really don’t see the need to (register),” said Liggins, 18.
 
And while the 2014 graduate of Hollis F. Price Middle College High School is clearly among the young, voting-age Memphians who are disaffected, he offers a view of what he thinks it will take for increased numbers of young adults to develop faith in the voting process. 
 
Young people, said Liggins, would be responsive to candidates who hear their concerns and show some real compassion.
 
Nitoria M. Itson-Alexander: What do you expect to gain from the candidates or what do you think they should bring to the table?
El’Keenan T. Liggins: I think the candidates should bring effective ideas to the table. In recent elections, there has not been any effective change in the city. The candidates tell the community the bright ideas they have for the city but through their time in office, the ideas are not being put into effect. If a candidate says they are going to make a positive impact on the community, then they should.
 
NMIA: How do you plan on determining your vote?
ETL: If I (decided) to vote, it would be because a candidate has persuaded me in the areas I look for. I would have to formulate the real reason he or she has run for this position. “Are they trying to acquire this position for scandal and corruption?” (That) would be the focus question. Additionally, he or she must have provided previous examples of great things they have done for Memphis. 
 
NMIA: What do you think is a serious problem or problems in Memphis that politicians need to really focus on?
ETL: An area I believe that should be focused on would be jobs in Memphis. As a high school graduate, it is very hard to find a good-paying job in Memphis. Most jobs require you some have some college education. For some of us, we would need a job to help pay for college. To solve that problem in Memphis, the city should bring a theme park. It would give a plethora of teenagers jobs throughout the school year and summer. It would also bring money into the city from its own residents and also visitors. 
 
NMIA: Do you think that you are under the belief that nothing will change under new politicians?
ETL: I believe things can possibly change under the right politicians. They must have outstanding qualities, such as honesty, compassion and leadership. He or she will always be honest with their community, which will restore faith from the citizens. 
Secondly, one must have strong compassion for their city. A proud Memphian will bring in great things for their city and uplift their city. Lastly, leadership would be the key description of a great politician. Memphis needs strong-minded people in office that can handle anything that is thrown at them. They should lead this community in the right direction….which is forward.
 
Memphis has become less enthusiastic because everything is leaving Memphis. Politicians that are needed for Memphis would have to build strong connections with people who will want to bring amazing things to Memphis. 
 
NMIA: What would be your solution to restore young people’s faith in politics?
ETL: My solution to restore faith in politics in young people would be to give them some sense of hope. Listen to their ideas, and make an effort to address their problems. 
 
Many believe young people do not have a sense of the real world, but through observation young people have a grown to understand the concept of the “real world.”
 

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