Written by Mariah Asipe
In July 1984, Congress passed a bill that required all states to implement a minimum drinking age of 21, or they would lose their federal highway funding as retribution. Needless to say, every state rapidly complied with this financial tribulation, even if it was entirely against what state lawmakers believed.
Ever since that time, there has been a heated debate surrounding the topic of whether or not the drinking age should return to 18 years of age. The people who feel most heated about this topic? People under the age of 18, but mostly those ranging from 18-20.
According to the poll that was created regarding the topic of the drinking age, the main consensus was that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 at the least. The law that is in effect now simply is not fair, especially to college aged people who are not yet 21, and something should be done to change policy regarding the drinking age.
An overwhelming 66.3% of students at SU polled do not like where the drinking age is as of now. 62.9% of students polled feel that the drinking age should be lowered to 18.
When asked what their feelings and thoughts were about the drinking age, a great deal of people came up with similar answers regarding the drinking age versus the age one can die for his or her country.
Here are just a few quotes of many from students here at Southwestern, basically re-iterating the same ideas and concerns about the legal drinking age.
“If at eighteen, we can choose to die for our country and elect its leader, we should be given the right to decide whether or not to consume alcohol.”
“You can vote, you can serve but you can’t be trusted with a beer!!”
“If you’re 18 and old enough to be drafted and die in Iraq (something I feel is totally unnecessary), you’re certainly old enough to die of your own accord from alcohol poisoning (also something I think is totally unnecessary.)”
“….it is ironic that we can be legally drafted and pressed into military service – handed a firearm and told to kill – before we’re legally old enough to drink.”
So, a legitimate point is in fact raised. Why can we fight and die for our country, vote and do almost everything else a “true” adult can, but we cannot legally drink? Where is the fairness or rationality in that?
We are all aware that Europe as well as many other countries have no legal drinking age or have a legal drinking age that is considerably lower than ours is. It appears to be working fine for them. In fact, it is a well-known fact that their consumption of alcohol, overall, is far less abused than ours is.
Put another way, we have more alcoholics and alcohol-related problems here, where there is a somewhat high legal drinking age, as compared to somewhere like Europe. They are far less likely, no matter their age, to consume large quantities of alcohol and abuse their intake of alcohol.
Multiple respondents to this poll agree with the statement above as well, some saying: “Lots of other western countries have a much lower age yet it is only the ‘American college student’ who has the mark of the binge drinker.”
“I understand that it’s all with good reason, but come on! Europe’s been doing fine with 18. You know, less STDs, fewer pregnancies, less alcohol-related deaths. I think there might be something to it.
“People in other countries are allowed to drink at younger ages and have less of a problem with drunkenness.”
There you have it. Even though some still maintain that 21 is a fine and proper legal drinking age, the vast majority of students our age are saying and thinking otherwise. Maybe one day this will change, and we will see how it plays out. Until then, it can only be said that a great deal of students, at least from the results of the poll, who are not of legal drinking age will still be drinking, and drinking illegally. What other choice is there?