May I have a seat at the bar?
This past summer, my family and I went on our annual vacation to Canada.
We drove from Aston, Pa., all the way to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
We spent two days there, and then drove to Toronto where we spent another two days.
The falls were beautiful and Toronto is, hands down, one of the best cities I have ever been to.
Another aspect of Toronto that I loved was the drinking age, which is 19.
I am 19, so needless to say, I enjoyed drinking legally there.
It was not until we crossed the Canadian border into America that I really started to question why 21 was the drinking age in the U.S.
I learned that in other provinces throughout Canada, the drinking age is 18.
So why is it 21 in America? Does anyone else feel that number is somewhat random?
In other countries like Europe, the age is even lower.
I learned in my French class this semester that distilled wine is introduced to young children in France to familiarize them with alcohol.
So if an 8-year-old can drink, why am I not allowed?
Let us go over some brief history for a moment. Prior to 1984, states in the U.S. were allowed to choose their legal drinking ages, and these ages varied from state to state.
When prohibition was repealed in 1933, states set the age to purchase alcohol of 21.
These ages remained constant until the early 1970s when states began lowering their purchasing and legal consuming age to 18.
This was because the voting age was changed from 21 to 18 with the start of the 26th Amendment.
Following me still?
This age varied from 19 to 18 throughout the states up until the 1980s.
Then Ronald Reagan came into the picture as the president and quite frankly, ruined all the fun.
President Reagan established a commission to study drunk driving rates in America.
One of the 39 recommendations the commission outlined was that a uniform drinking age be introduced to the U.S.
Thus, The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was born.
If a lower drinking age can work in other countries in the world, why would it not work in the U.S.?
The government tells me I am allowed to operate a vehicle at 16, which is not just a responsibility, but a liability.
The government says I am allowed to choose who runs the country I live in at 18.
This has the effect to change my life for better or worse and the lives of those around me by voting in elections.
The government says I am allowed to go off to war at 18.
Think about it. At 18-years-old, I could be thrown into combat, handed a gun and be told to defend my country.
OK, here is an example. A soldier comes back from Afghanistan, and he or she is still under the age to drink legally.
This soldier has been away from home for a while and has no doubt gone through traumatic experiences.
Why should this soldier not be able to just sit down at a bar and enjoy a beer?
I think that 19 is a perfectly acceptable age to drink legally in the U.S.
Most 19-year-olds are in college and are adults who are not planning Senior Week houses, but future careers.
Now, I know opposition for this opinion will just tell me I am being bitter.
Well, I do not care. I am an adult who manages school work, extracurricular activities and a job, while still pulling good grades.
I do not have a criminal record, and I have never been pulled over while driving.
I follow the rules.
All I am asking for in return is a seat at the bar.