There are many worrying double standards in this country: Like the fact that in many states, it’s illegal to carry an open container of alcohol in your car – while perfectly legal to carry a loaded hand gun; like the fact that if you’re the victim of a crime at the age of 17 the media describes you as “a child”, yet if you’re the perpetrator, then you’re “a man” and the state is free to try you “as if” you were an adult and seek the death penalty; and like the fact that you can go to war on some Iraqi sand dune and take a bullet in the ass for good old Uncle Sam, but should you beat the odds and make it back alive, then you can’t roll your wheel chair into the local bar to celebrate.
Now I hate to get pedantic but either you’re an adult or you’re not. If you’re old enough to make the decision to take life – and risk your own (the most momentous decision any of us can be asked to make) then common sense dictates that you are not only capable, but deserving of the right to drown your sorrows after all you’ve been through. To rule otherwise, is not only morally indefensible but there is no higher insult to our men and women in uniform than the fact that we are prepared to sacrifice their lives while refusing their right to consume alcohol responsibly.
To add insult to injury, we believe that our citizens are responsible enough to be able to:
- drive high powered a motor vehicle or motor cycle at 15
- carry a loaded firearm in public at 18
- get married at 16 and
- pro-create at 16.
The age of 21 is reserved for just a few hopelessly random events… renting a car, becoming a police officer, and allowing that devil’s juice to pass your lips.
Welcome to the United States of America. Did someone say “Land of the free?”
Our Canadian neighbors to the north have a drinking age of 18 or 19 and to the south in Mexico it is, well who cares, they certainly don’t. In Europe, and indeed most of the truly “free” world the drinking age is 18 – and the society isn’t in chaos. In fact, like most “polite” societies, they’re doing just fine, just as they are without loaded firearms and the death penalty – but that’s another blog. In fact, the only countries I can think of that are more draconian regarding their drinking laws are totally “dry” countries like Saudi Arabia who punish severely anyone found drinking (and produced most of the 9/11 terrorists).
It should be clear to all but the most politically obtuse, that the arguments for telling a 20 year-old adult that he (or she) may not possess alcohol, even in the privacy of their own home, not only run counter to common sense, but are logically inconsistent and academically bankrupt.
Prohibition failed during the thirties, and it goes without saying that the current laws are equally ineffective. Either the age to join the military goes up to 21, or the drinking age comes down to 18 – I don’t care which – just so long as we stop acting like hypocrites and then acting surprised when teenagers fail to respect the law – or follow it.
Even Dr. Morris E. Chafetz who originally voted to raise the drinking age to 21 admits that it has achieved littleÂ and was “the single most regrettable decision of my entire professional career.”