This I Believe

Ryan - La Quinta, California
Entered on May 31, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question

This I Believe

“Old enough to fight, old enough to vote.” This was a popular saying in the 1960’s when the draft forced 18 year olds to fight in Vietnam when they weren’t allowed to participate in electing the government that sent them there. In the summer of 1968, President Lyndon Johnson proposed the 26th amendment which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. The amendment was ratified by Congress in July 1, 1971. I believe that it’s time also to lower the drinking age to 18. To me, going to war is a much bigger responsibility than drinking.

I believe that if I am old enough to be drafted into a war and be sent to a foreign country, then why shouldn’t I be allowed to drink? At 18, I am considered an adult, so why am I not allowed to have all the responsibilities of an adult? If I am old enough to choose who I want to run our country, then why not be able to purchase and consume alcohol here and there?

In England, there is a different attitude toward underage drinking. The pubs will allow underage teens to purchase alcohol as long as they purchase something to eat. Boarding schools like Charterhouse have a pub on campus, where the boys can get together on a Friday night along with their teachers to play pool and have beer. England’s idea is that making a big deal about it causes a lot of the problems that we see in the United States with teenagers who want to drink especially because it’s prohibited

In San Diego County, some officials are suggesting that the soldiers stationed at Camp Pendleton should be allowed to purchase alcohol with their military identification. On April 19th, Commandant James Conway signed a new rule allowing underage drinking by the Marines stationed there on special occasions. Until 1996, the Navy allowed underage drinking on its bases that were within 50 miles of another country. This was to prevent soldiers from crossing the border into Mexico where they were allowed to drink and then driving back drunk. This clearly demonstrates that underage drinking is common knowledge, so the military wants to make sure that soldiers who do it are not hazards to themselves or others. I believe that should be enough of a reason to change the law.

I believe it is time to lower the drinking age to 18. Our government considers us adults when it comes to voting, but when it comes to drinking, they consider us kids. This is a double standard that I think needs to be changed. If our government can send us to war at 18 with the chance of us dying before we hit the legal age, how is that fair? Some of the unlucky ones may never hit that age. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote—old enough to drink.”