I have been around alcohol my whole life.My dad’s father (Grandpa) has owned a liquor store for as long as I can remember, and my mom’s father (Pawpaw) is by far his best customer. Every time my family gets together, it’s the perfect chance to try out a new wine or beer that my grandpa has just received in stock, or to install a new keg into my Pawpaw’s fully functional and well-stocked bar.
From that information, you might assume that I am a heavy drinker and that I could get booze anytime I want it. But I am different.
I do not drink often, and when I do, it is just a drink or two with family or friends. If I wanted to buy a beer on my accord, however, I should be able to. I am 20 years old and mature enough to know my limits.
The drinking age should be lowered to 18. I know many students on college campuses will agree with me just so they can party every weekend and even some weekdays. But, again, I am different.
I am not saying that it is OK to abuse alcohol. A couple of my friends have died and other friends’ lives were ruined in car accidents involving drunk drivers. One of these accidents involved a drunk driver who was under the age of 21.
Despite these devastating episodes that were the result of alcohol abuse, most 18-year-olds are mature enough to know what they can and can’t do. Eighteen-year-olds aren’t children any more; they do not need their mothers to tuck them in at night or to set boundaries for them. They should know their limitations.
Most 18-year-olds have already been driving for two years and know how to handle a car. Plus, they have been peppered with advertisements, high school presentations and talks from their parents about not driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Most other countries have a minimum age for alcohol purchase under 21. In fact, the USA is one of just a handful of nations in which you have to be 21 to buy alcohol. Our neighboring nations of Canada and Mexico have a purchase age of 18, except for portions of Canada in which you have to be 19. For mainly that reason, many college students go down to Mexico for spring break and summer vacation.
In Italy, the minimum purchase age is 16. In the United Kingdom, the minimum age is 16 if you are purchasing the alcohol with a meal. Any other time, the customer must be at least 18.
When you turn 18, you receive the right to vote. If you are allowed to have a voice that influences who will be running the free world or on what laws should or should not be enacted, there is no reason that you should not be able to have a drink. Besides, a good way to celebrate your voice being heard is with a drink.
Not only can you vote when you turn 18, you can be drafted into the military and die serving your country. Since young adults can be forced into a war, regardless if they do or do not agree with it, they should be able to go down to the corner gas station and buy some beer to drink with friends. Even though the draft is not currently in use, 18-year-olds can voluntarily sign years of their life away to a branch of the military, but are still not allowed to open a beer.
I have a lot of faith in the 18-to-20-year-old age group of this nation They know what they are doing, and they can make the right choices. After all, we are the leaders of tomorrow.
Billy Wessels is a junior news-editorial major from Waxahachie Texas