Land of the Free

November 26, 2007
By william klima, Fredericksburg, VA

The “Land of the Free” is what we’re brought up to think about our beloved country. We’re taught about the enjoyments of democracy; rule by the people, for the people. At times it seems that we almost drown under the excessive advertisement of our “Freedom” and of our “democracy,” yet the U.S.A. fails to achieve their claims. At eighteen years of age, maturity is reached and citizenship is granted. These newcomers of adulthood are given citizenship along with all of its perks and penalties… besides one, the Right to buy and consume alcohol. This “special” privilege only applies to those who reach the age of twenty one; so even after being declared adults, these individuals are still denied the right to drink.

The eighteenth birthday represents the final change from child to adult in our society; we become “full-fledged” citizens with the ability to vote, go to war, and to take full legal responsibility for our actions, yet we are denied alcohol. How is it at eighteen that we can make such critical decisions, such as who should be the leader of the country yet we are denied the ability to make our own decisions regarding alcohol consumption? Eighteen year olds can make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but are denied the privilege to drink. Does it make sense that people can go to war before they can have a drink with a few friends? The U.S.A has the highest, national, drinking age in the world; bewildering that the “land of the free” is actually the least free concerning alcohol. The U.S. should allow these young adults to make their own decisions, including the consumption of alcohol, because that is the essence of adult hood, yet there are others out there who think it is to much of risk and sacrifice to give young adults those rights.

There are a great deal of people out there who believe that the drinking age should remain at twenty one, arguing order over freedom. Widely believed is the view that if the drinking age were to be lowered to eighteen years of age then would arise an increase in alcohol related accidents as well as an increase in alcohol related incidents relating to minors. Personally I am not denying this; last time the government lowered the drinking age there was a sharp increase in alcohol related accidents and it more likely than not that if the drinking age is again lowered there will be at least a momentary increase as well in alcohol related accidents as well as underage drinking, but there are options that can be taken and efforts made to quell the oncoming statistics.

There are a number of ways to make the lowering of the drinking age possible with few consequences. One possible idea, though complicated and most likely to be difficult to deploy, would be to change the entire view of society to make it more like that of Europe. The U.S. itself is already almost entirely based upon European ideals, structure, and society; at this point why should we not adopt their their way of dealing with drinking considering that the bulk of Europe has relatively few alcohol related accidents compared to the U.S. The system in Europe allows minors as young as fifteen years old to indulge themselves with alcohol; drinking and alcohol are common and accessible throughout Europe and because of this lack of exclusivity as well as the growth in familiarity, alcohol abuse remains far less common than in the U.S. Another factor that has generated success is that the age in Europe to get a drivers license is much higher than that in the U.S.; this in effect allows minors to become further acquainted with alcohol with less risk of alcohol related incidents occurring. This possible idea of increasing the age to receive a drivers license in the U.S. would not be probable due to the lack of Public transportation in the U.S. compared to Europe. Europe provides a great example of what can be achieved in regards to alcohol; if the U.S. enables alcohol to become less exclusive and familiarize minors with it at an early age then there are substantial possibilities for a successful change.

Despite the many ideas the U.S. can achieve from Europe, other changes and implements should be emphasized. The U.S. should not be the one enforcing alcohol control, this power would best be granted to the family. The first level in deciding what is and what is not acceptable should be the parents; if the parents were to educate their children about alcohol and familiarize it with them then it is more than possible for alcohol related incidents to drop. One of my good friends that I have known for over nine years just went off to college and recently had a horrible tragedy. She was only eighteen years old, never partied in her life, a great girl, achieved the highest marks in school, and then went off to college; she wasn't in college for more than two weeks when at a party she became so intoxicated that she fell off the balcony of the dorm, falling three stories, breaking her neck. She had no idea what she was doing, having only been intoxicated maybe once before in her entire life; this is why alcohol familiarity and education are crucial to the. If the drinking age had been lower and alcohol itself less exclusive it is possible that the girl would have been more familiar with alcohol and the terrible night never would have occurred. Our country can emphasize the importance of alcohol education through the creation of alcohol related programs, the school systems, as well as broad casts and other forms of advertisement. By concentrating more power into the family, where minors are more likely to be influenced, greater success can be achieved.

Overall there are many good reasons to lower the drinking age as well as there are to not lower the drinking age, but if the right precautions are taken then it is possible to achieve the best of both worlds. Through alcohol familiarity and education as well as the emphasis on the family it is possible to lower the drinking age and maintaining if not reducing the number of alcohol related incidents.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!