Saturday, April 05, 2008

We should lower the drinking age to 18...

If the age of "18" is adulthood then every 18 year old in this country should be considered an emancipated adult and should be allowed to indulge in all legal activities enjoyed by others who are older (like gambling, drinking, and using tobacco). The age of 18 is when individuals are legally allowed to make important legal and life decisions for themselves, and without parental consent.

Why then do we have ridiculous laws that prohibit 18 year olds from purchasing and consuming alcohol?

Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson supported changing the legal voting age from 21 to 18 and suffrage by 18 year olds came about as a result of the Vietnam war in which men who were 18 years old were sent to war but were not old enough to vote in the same government which sent them to war. Eventually all the states ratified the amendment lowering the voting age at 18.

As a result of the 26th Amendment, states began lowering the required age for certain acts like signing contracts and getting married--without parental consent--to 18. The states believed that an individual who had the right to vote could be considered an emancipated adult and as such states began lowering the age for entering into legal contracts, including marriage, without parental consent--to age 18.

The biggest issue here for me is the drinking age. In 1984 the federal government enacted the "Minimum Age Drinking Act" which required states to set the minimum age for purchasing alcohol at 21 years. States who did not abide by the law were threatened with a loss of 10% of their federal highway construction funds. The Act didn't outlaw alcohol consumption but some states do just that. However the states are not consistent, some have a ban on consumption completely, some have a ban with a caveat, and some have no ban at all.

MADD and other such organizations would have us believe that 18 year olds are not responsible enough to handle alcohol. Yet these same 18-year olds are considered responsible enough to handle complex and expensive military weaponry, go to war, fight in the infantry, and die in the line of duty. Yes, this reasoning is used by many but serving in our military is SERIOUS business. A person who is old enough to decide on their own to enlist in the military and fight for freedom is damn well old enough to make other choices. Now, the choices many 18 year olds will make won't make their parents or others happy and they will make mistakes, as we all did and still do, but damnit, either you're an adult or you're not!

I've seen plenty of those older than 18 who can't handle their alcohol or make responsible life decisions. But we have to let them make their mistakes because they are adults and as such they have to take responsibility for their actions.

The question here is simple. I don't care WHAT the statistics say. It's this easy:

Is "18" the age of adulthood in the United States?

If the answer is yes, if we consider 18 year olds to be adults and make their own decisions without parental or guardian consent, then we cannot pick and choose in which situations they can be considered adults. They must be considered adults in ALL situations.

I tell you what--I'd like to be the one to argue this case before the court. I'm sure there's plenty of caselaw out there support it.

2 comments:

  1. I agree but don't agree at the same time.. does that make Sense?

    I am one of those underage drinkers tho! I have been drinking wine for a long time! During Feast and such!

    But some are not responsible at all.. but hey most of the adults are the same way!

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  2. Anonymous5/19/2008

    I am a recovering alcoholic, 6 years sober. It's too bad that you are even concerned with the thought of being able to drink. It's really not that glorious. It had caused more heartache and trouble in this world let alone death. Talk to on of those Mothers Against Drunk Drivers face to face and look at the tears in her eyes. Drinking is a choice and a decision that people make not a mistake. We are all in control of the choices we make in this life. Go ahead, make an adult decision and see if it leads to be a big mistake. Think about that when you take your next drink. Most alcoholics don't grow up saying "I'm going to be an alcoholic when I grow up". No one sets out to do that. It's a terrible result of dreadful choices and a horrible disease. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Good luck with your adult decisions and choices.

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