Tuesday, August 4, 2009

but I got a fake I.D.!

Okay, so if you know me in real life, you probably already know my views on marijuana. What you may not know my views on (though you could probably predict them) is on the Lowering of the Drinking Age.

As much of a drunk as I am, I am not for lowering the drinking age. Absolutely not. And here's why.

As Americans, we are part of a nation of Excess. We invented "extreme". As a culture, we're loud, we're bawdy, we're crass, we're low brow. That's how we roll.
We eat too much. We starve too much. We run all day. We lay in our beds all day. We don't understand technology, or we spend all day on our laptops updating twitter and facebook. We either hate books, or we've read over a hundred. We're fierce democrats - we're die-hard republicans.
As a nation, we don't understand the word "moderate" - and the same applies to drinking.

I've been abroad, where the drinking age is 18. Spring break, my freshman year, 60 of us went to Scotland.
How many of you spent your freshman year skunk-drunk? I know I did. I'm sure a lot of you did too. 18 years old, out on your own for the first time, and lo and behold - seniors who are willing to buy you booze once a week! This is the land of milk and honey! ...or Vladimir and Gatorade.

What we didn't expect of Scotland was that the culture there wasn't the "let's drink til' we can't feel feelings anymore" drinking standards of America. Personally, I only saw one drunk Scot, and his friends kept apologizing for him (though it may have been because he was swearing at us.) They drink in moderation there; they're responsible. That doesn't mean they don't know how to have a good time, but for the most part they know better.

In America, 21 year olds aren't the only ones with access to alcohol - in college, it certainly wasn't hard to get my hands on it. Does that mean I was responsible? Absolutely not.
Now, can you imagine if the drinking age was 18?
I would have been that kid that went to 10th grade Biology with a Dasani bottle filled with vodka.

Granted, there are some people that already did that. I didn't know any. Then again, other people's parents kept alcohol in the house - my parents didn't drink. (My dad does now, but it's because he hates us.) My mom doesn't drink at all.

Some kids are mature enough to handle it at 18. I wouldn't have been.
Lowering the drinking age to 18 makes it easier for people under 18 to have possession of alcohol, and High School is not the time for students to be experimenting with Alcohol. Yes, a lot of kids do it anyway, but keeping the drinking age at 21 makes it one hell of a lot harder.
This excess culture of America will never change. It's how America has always been and always will be. We'd have to have one massive culture shift in order to pull off a safer lowered drinking age.

What I am okay with is modifying the laws we have in place.
We could either a) lower the drinking age to 20 (at the age of 20, I was definitely responsible enough to handle it,) or lower the public drinking age to 18, but keep the purchasing age at 21 (so you can go to a bar at 18, but not the liquor store.)
I think the latter scenario is probably the best bet, as it allows for a safer, broader transition period into the drinking scene.

(By the way, I thought the same thing when I was under 21. ...my peers did not like that...)

Comments, thoughts, disagreements?

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