Kahlua and the KonstitutionSpecial Guest, Thursday December 7th, 2006
Let's take a little trip to the future. The year is 2009 (I said a little trip). Apple has an iPod with a three-hundred gig capacity that fits inside your ear and Reality TV will be but a vague idea of insanity in a new generation's minds. You are out of college and your younger brothers and sisters are applying to great academic institutes all over the country. Actually, scratch that last bit. They are too busy getting wasted. Your little sister, who three years ago was ready to become the first female president, is now attending community college...and failing. Your little brother drank too much and ran his car into a donut shop, killing his hopes of making the varsity football team. The taps are running dry. There is a national beer and wine shortage. The streets are flowing with rivers of puke and vodka. All because some stupid politician lowered the drinking age back to 18. See the problem here?
Register for free to enjoy ODK without advertisements!
College students have been finding ways around the 21 year-old drinking age for over a decade. But before them, their parents could probably go into any bar they wanted when they were in college, and enjoy an alcoholic beverage without a problem. States had the drinking age at 18 years of age since the dawn of time, and even that is unusually high. Canada’s is still 18 in most states, and most countries over the ocean in either direction have much lower requirements. In Italy, for instance, a nine year-old can purchase a bottle of wine. Why then, here in America, is it so much higher now? And what has been done to try and fix it?
Having spent some time abroad, I would say that the attitude towards alcohol is very different in other parts of the world. In most of Europe, for example, binge drinking, throwing up in the toilet, and massive hangovers are practically unheard of. Alcohol is for relaxing. It is a pleasurable supplement, and one usually does not go over the threshold as readily as American college kids.
But America is a nation born out of industry, more specifically, the automotive industry. Drunk-driving is a much greater issue in the United States than anywhere else in the world.It is common knowledge that the younger you are, the more likely you are to drink and drive. The government thought that they could curb the accidents due to drunk driving by raising the drinking age to 21, and in 1984 (note the year) the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed.
The NMDAA rose the purchasing age to 21, but it did not raise the age for consumption. Twenty states do not have limits on the age for consumption, and 15 have provisions for drinking with family members. Find out about your state. Tell your parents. They will be impressed, and they might just let you sip the froth off their beer. The Constitution offers the government no control over the drinking age, and therefore, due to the tenth Amendment, the drinking age is a state issue and not a federal issue. So how come it is regulated by Congress? In essence, the federal government bribed the states into raising the age. In the Federal Highway Act, if a state does not enforce a drinking age of 21, their funding for highways is reduced ten percent. So, in other words, the states are little marionettes of the country. In Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution, there is a nifty little thing called the “Commerce clause” which states that Congress has the power “To regulate Commerce… among the several states”. Highways, purchasing of alcohol, and drunk-driving might all fall under the jurisdiction of the Commerce clause.
But by raising the drinking age, the problem has gotten even worse. Alcohol has been placed upon a high pedestal. We have deemed alcohol the second most important responsibility for an adult, after the eligibility to become president (at age 35). Envision yourself as a young child. Your mother has placed a jar of cookies on the top shelf. What would you do if you could reach them? Get wasted. Any child would. And that is exactly what teens are doing in America. And underage drinking is not easily regulated. A legal adult drinking in a bar will eventually be "cut-off", but there are no bouncers at Joe's Party, nor anybody to relieve you of your car keys. And if somebody (and someone inevitably will) goes a little too far, fear of getting busted often outweighs the need for a hospital. So even if you don't think that 18 year-olds should drink, at least realize that by allowing them to drink legally it could be much better regulated, and your kids will stop stealing your grappa and replacing it with water.