Everything about the United States stands for freedom, the image of our young soldiers and athletes parading victoriously has been embedded in the world's s consciences. Well today that same world is laughing at us because we have the most ridiculous alcohol laws known to mankind.
Japan limits sale and consumption to individuals 20 years and older, but aside from Muslim countries, the rest of the world allows adults to make adult decisions. An eighteen year-old can vote, buy a house, go to war, or even make a pornographic movie with machines and farm animals, but he or she cannot buy or get caught drinking a beer? This simply does not make any sense.
As with any substance that has a likelihood of being abused, alcohol consumption has social and health costs. Misuse can lead to inappropriate behaviors, diseases of the respiratory system, accidents caused by fire, drowning, suicides, and homicides. At the same time, soft drinks, and fast food also has made a negative impact on our nation's health. Are we getting ready to shut down McDonald's?
Alcohol consumption also increases tax revenues, has some health benefits, as well as enjoyment that the responsible consumption brings to adults. Studies have shown that just because there may be no laws or a younger legal age to consume alcohol does not necessarily mean that there will be more deaths occurring. In fact, countries without a legal drinking age have lower death rates than those with a higher drinking age. Underage drinkers are more likely the ones to consume alcohol in a way that is immature or heavily, also known as binge drinking, which causes more deaths than a drink or two in a controlled environment.
These issues can be seen as a way to rebel or be shown as a symbol of adulthood. In the countries with no legal drinking age, or younger drinking ages, alcohol can be seen as normal, and therefore can be done in an appropriate manner. Some arguments state that normalizing alcohol will decrease death rates, binge drinking, and underage drinking. Specifically, the United States government labels alcohol in the same category as drugs, which could lead to the actual use of drugs.
Choose Responsibility is a non-profit organization in the United States that promotes public awareness of the dangers of excessive and reckless alcohol consumption by young adults. The main goal is to lower the minimum drinking age by educating the public. It was founded and is directed by Dr. John McCardell, Jr., president emeritus of Vermont's Middlebury College.
Choose Responsibility has examined many industrialized societies with drinking ages less than 21 but scientifically measured to have more responsible drinking habits than Americans. The organization believes that current drinking laws "infantilize" young adults and promote immature behaviors. Therefore, it promotes public policies that it believes would empower young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their own lives.
Many of our nation' s colleges and university leaders have openly supported the initiatives of the Choose Responsibility organization. In July 2008, over 100 college presidents including across the United States went public with the call for a reconsideration of the drinking age law.
Like most things in life, an individual's behavior can be traced right back to parenting. My daughter Sonia is only thirteen years old. For the most part, she is an angel. Why? Because the way she is being raised. My wife Deysi and I continuously install core values and principles into our children's lives.
Deysi also is very soft spoken, loving, and leads by example. In the rare occurrence that there is a discipline issue with Sonia, I step into the situation and simply have a one on one talk with her. We go over the issue, her behavior, and come up with a solution together to make a better decision. It is amazing how smart a little girl can be.
Our son Tomas is an entirely different story. He has been a joyful challenge to us, and to his sister. From the time he was just two years-old, we have been able to teach Tomas to make the right choices. He also understands the consequences for making the wrong ones.
We all have the freedom of choice. It is the values we learn as children that directs those choices. Our government spends entirely too much time trying to manage the people and needs to spend more time representing us. Is it time for our country to fully restore the rights of adults to make adult decisions?
There is an absolute war in Mexico dedicated entirely to the illegal drug market here in the United States. The legalization, taxation, and controlled distribution of popular narcotics could essentially wipe out the federal deficit, end the drug war and maybe even eliminate the need for a wall.
Is time that we catch up with the rest of the world and face the realities of freedom? Is it time that we take back the freedoms that we have allowed the government to take away? Is it time that a nineteen year-old hockey player has the right to enjoy a few beers with his buddies after a game?
I think so.
Wikipedia used for some portions of this article
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