UPDATED LEGAL DRINKING AGE

This is going to deviate slightly from what you are used to hearing me discuss on my blog. It has nothing to do with Autism. I want to talk about the legal drinking age in the United States and my POV on it. As I am sure you all know, the legal drinking age here in America is 21. However, this was not always the case. It used to be 18 but was changed to 21+ in 1984. I was born in 1990 so for me, I have always been used to the 21+ law. Admittedly, I drank before that age at home, but legally had to wait until I turned 21 to drink in public, even though I had had alcohol before then. So why am I bringing this up? Because frankly, I think the drinking age needs to change…or at least be re-examined. Why? Because there are people I know—myself included—who drank before 21 and never got drunk. They drink responsibly! On the other side of the coin, I know and have seen people WAY over the legal drinking age who drink as almost a means of survival. Like, “I need alcohol to live” mentality. They get completely dependent on booze and are irresponsible with their drinking habits. So I think as long as you don’t get blackout drunk or just plain stupid with it, there is nothing wrong with having a drink before the age of 21. I hate to seems too controversial, but religion allows minors to drink…at least the Catholic religion does…and nobody seems to give a shit. In the Catholic faith, we get Holy Communion in the Second Grade. The Holy Communion consists of bread wafers and the “Blood of Christ”. And what exactly is the Blood of Christ? CONSECRATED WINE! So if little kids can drink in Church, even if the wine is consecrated, holy, and a rite of passage, why can’t it be applied to everyday life? My girlfriend Allie is Jewish and she informed me that Jews are kind of obligated to have a drink of wine at their bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. So in some religions, drinking alcohol is seen as a kind of rite of passage. I read that in the Sunni religion, alcohol is generally frowned on, but it is the “promised drink in Heaven”.

I have been to the Bahamas. Do you know what the legal age to drink in the Bahamas is? There’s not one! No joke…legally, in the Bahamas, the only requirement that they have to drink, at least in the resort areas, is that you have to be able to reach the bar. Keep in mind they have swim-up bars in the shallow ends of the pools—in every pool—in the resort areas like the Atlantis Resort. The US and parts of India are the only countries I am aware of that have a drinking age of 21 and over. (India has the age set at 25 or 30 years in some parts). If I am missing any other countries, please let me know. But everywhere else in the world it’s 18 at most. Canada’s legal drinking age is 18. Like the Bahamas, Jamaica has no legal age to consume alcohol BUT you have to be at least 18 to purchase it. Haiti has no limit to purchase or consume alcohol. So why is America so strict?
College is another example. Freshman Year in college is often a teenager’s first “home away from home” experience if they live on-campus. It is their first taste of real independence. I know it is frowned upon and seems almost cliché that college students and fraternities drink, but there is a grain of truth to it. Granted, again, it does not always lead to the best of circumstances or situations, but it happens. And college students, and ever Seniors in High School, pay big money for a fake ID to buy alcohol for parties and their dorms. I think if people are willing to pay a Hell of a lot more money to fraudulently buy alcohol that it costs to actually purchase alcohol legally, maybe that should be an indicator that something needs to be done.

Please note: I am not encouraging drinking underage by any means, but my point is, if you are smart enough to realize what you are doing and that too much alcohol can lead to trouble, then you should be able to drink. I hate to be “that guy” but I have an idea and semi-solution in mind. I think the US Government should keep tabs on people who drink—regardless of age—and somehow monitor how much people are drinking and cut them off before they get too rowdy and out of control. Whether it is an actual monitor, like one used for people who legally cannot leave their houses (an anklet) or a computer database, I am not sure how it would work. But it sort of seems like a viable and semi-realistic and possible solution. When people get out of control and have too much to drink, again no matter what age, is when they start doing stupid shit that they would not normally do. Now do I ever expect this plan to come to fruition? No, of course not. I realize our country’s economic situation and how much time, energy, and money my idea would cost, but I don’t see anyone else coming up with anything. America is often billed as the Land of Equality, but if we tell people what they can and can’t buy and consume…that doesn’t seem so equal to me. The Land of the Free…it should be a “freedom” to drink, not a right or privilege that is limited. Again, I am NOT trying to promote underage drinking or overdrinking, but it seems kind of bizarre to me that this law is in place.

It also seems a little contradictory. Here in America, to buy tobacco and cigarettes, you have to be 18. Granted, as of my writing this, the MD State Legislature is trying to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21, but as of now, it is 18. If it changes, I will adjust my argument accordingly. Maybe it’s just me, but I think smoking is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY more harmful that beer. Smoking kills statistically faster and more frequently than beer. I simply think if you are going to enforce an age limit on one thing, it should be applied to other things.
So I want to hear from you. Am I way out of line with my logic or does it make sense? Let me know in the comments section and, as always, thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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