Catch 21 Sarah, an eighteen-year-old college freshman, walks into a convenience store and moves timidly to the back, hoping that no one she knows will see her. Opening the refrigerator door, she pulls out a chilled case of Coors Light. Sarah nervously approaches the cashier, with her fake ID ready to be shown, and places the case of beer on the counter. Upon first sight, the cashier assumes that Sarah is not of legal age to buy beer, because she is petite and looks young. When she places the case on the counter, the cashier asks her for her ID. Sarah, ready to show her seemingly flawless fake form of identification, hands it to him.
At first glance, the ID seems to be real, and the date of birth appears correct, but, when looked at closely, the picture does not exactly resemble the underage customer. The cashier identifies this ID as false identification and refuses to sell Sarah the case of Coors Light. In the 1980's, Sarah would have been allowed to purchase this case of Coors Light, because then it was legal for eighteen-year-olds to buy and drink alcoholic beverages. In 1984, the United States Government pressured the states to raise the legal drinking age to twenty-one.
The government used financial incentives to bribe the states, and "As of 1988, every state had raised its legal minimum drinking age from eighteen to twenty-one" (Buckley, 174). Today, this is a controversial topic among many eighteen-year-olds, because they have the same responsibilities and privileges as adults, yet people under the age of twenty-one are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. Legally, eighteen-year-olds have the responsibility to serve their country in war, to pay taxes, and to be prosecuted in the court of law as an adult. When people turn eighteen they also gain the privileges to vote, to enter into marriage, to make legal contracts, to purchase tobacco and pornography, and to live on their own, among othe things. Is it right to grant eighteen-year-olds all of these privileges and responsibilities, and to restrict them from drinking alcohol If eighteen-year-olds don't have the discretion to drink responsibly, then how could they possibly handle the responsibilities and privileges that adults have I believe that eighteen-year-olds do have the ability to handle the freedoms and responsibilities of being an adult, which should include the privilege to drink alcohol. Many eighteen-year-olds are college freshmen, and, in most colleges, beer is available to people under the age of twenty-one.
"Remorseless drinking has long been as much a ritual of university life as football, final exams, and frat parties" (Gorman, 176). I believe that the federal government is tempting these underage adults by restricting their legal ability to drink in such an environment as college campuses where it is legal for many of the students to consume alcoholic beverages. In order to be able to drink alcohol, many underage adults purchase fake forms of identification; "Raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 in the 1980 s merely triggered a boom in the business of creating fake ID cards" (Gorman, 176). People twenty-years of age and younger are purchasing these fake forms of identification in order to allow them to enter and drink in bars with their friends who are of age, and to allow them purchase beer in stores. Many may say that no matter what age the government sets as the standard legal drinking age, people who are underage are going to have friends who are of age. This situation will always be a problem, but if the legal drinking age would be lowered back down to eighteen, there would be fewer instances where this situation would occur, because the majority of eighteen-year-olds attend college with people who are older and of age.
Also, if the legal drinking age were lowered down to eighteen, there would be less of a need for the police to deal with fake IDs and parties involving underage drinking, and they could focus on more serious crimes. In 1988, the United States Government raised the legal drinking age in order to reduce the number of drunk-driving deaths, but, since then, there has not been any drastic decrease in alcohol related crashes. The problem that society needs to deal with is how to teach young people to drink moderately and not to drink when driving, because some people are going to drink no matter what the law says. Drinking and driving is a serious matter because it endangers peoples lives, but it is not only people under the age of twenty-one that drive under the influence of alcohol, many people twenty-one or older choose to drive intoxicated. In order to correct this problem, the government should increase the severity for being caught driving drunk in order to reinforce the dangers of driving under the influence and to make sure that people have less incentive to drive intoxicated. In fact, if the government would lower the drinking age back to eighteen and then enforce more strict driving rules, I believe that the number of alcohol related driving accidents and deaths will decrease drastically.
Therefore, did it really benefit the United States to change the legal drinking age to 21 In my opinion, it did not, because "It is not obvious that learning to drink with moderation, and not to drive when one is drinking, automatically happens to a twenty-one year old as distinguished from someone three years younger" (Buckley, 174). If eighteen-year-olds are given the privileges and responsibilities of adults, then the government must believe that they have the ability to make good decisions in important matters, of which should include drinking alcoholic beverages. Bibliography: Buckley, William F. , Jr. "Minimum Drinking Age Laws are Ineffective." Alcohol: Opposing Viewpoints. Eds.
Scott Barbour, Bruno Leone, and Brenda Stalcup. Greenhaven Press: San Diego, 1998. Gorman, Christine. Time.
December 19, 1994. (Taken out of Viewpoints) Buckley, William F. , Jr. "Minimum Drinking Age Laws are Ineffective." Alcohol: Opposing Viewpoints. Eds.
Scott Barbour, Bruno Leone, and Brenda Stalcup. Greenhaven Press: San Diego, 1998. Gorman, Christine. Time. December 19, 1994. (Taken out of Viewpoints).