As the years silently tick on, dear reader, many of you probably are reaching a point in your life where you can successfully say that you are becoming an adult. Recently I celebrated my 18th Birthday, and after the customary cake, presents, and existential dread associated with the day of your birth, I got right down to doing the things I can do now that I am recognized as a legal adult. Now dear reader, don't get me wrong, I had a lovely time buying spray paint and registering to vote and get drafted, but one thing that ran through my head was all the things I still need to wait at least three years to do. I mean, in the US I cannot legally drink till 21, I cant rent a car till my mid to late twenties, I can't even gamble! It strikes me as odd, that in our country, we have splintered the rights of our citizens into several different age groups, forgoing the consolidation of rights, commonly found in Canada and Western Europe. Why is it that we have created these age gaps, which one Is better? Well tonight dear reader, we dive into this question. And solve the age-old question.
Let's start with the minimum of consent, 18. The concept for this age group is quite simple really, seeing as this silly, quite arbitrary matter of dissent originated from where all silly things originate: The American Education system. If you dear reader, are not familiar with this system, then let me tell you, you don't need to be. Like many countries around the world, secondary school usually ends for youth at the age of 18, resulting in the US and many other countries making several types of content, like voting, and buying goldfish at the age in which many went out into the world. This, to many, seems appropriate, and as such many European countries decided to generalize 18 as the age that all rights and freedoms are granted to an individual. While there are some deviations throughout the world, it can be generally conceded that in order to do things like drive a car, gamble, drink alcohol, and of course, be called for jury duty, 18 is the magic number. The US, however, doesn't agree.
Similar to matters of dispute like the metric system, and the color of our money, the US is quite resolute on the matter of keeping several adult actions, such as drinking and gambling at a higher age level, and unlike wanting to keep our money the same because the public likes "the feel", the explanation might surprise you. In the 1970s, when the 26th Amendment lowered the age of majority to 18, many states experimented with a drinking age below 21. They changed their minds quickly: Accident statistics in those states showed a substantial jump in the number of drunk driving accidents involving 18-to-20-year-olds. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving played a key role in lobbying for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which was clearly an anti-drunk-driving measure. When Congress passed the act in 1984, every state was effectively forced to raise its drinking age back to 21. Surprisingly, the tactics worked. Drunk driving decreased substantially in the US, while other countries rated remained the same. Incidents of public intoxication, also lowered, as teenagers in Europe took advantage of easier accessed public transport and were often escorted off trains and buses drunk, something less likely to happen in the stricter United States. All in all, while it did, and does seem to constrict the blossoming youths of America, when the day is done it's for a good cause.
So why is I present this to you today, dear reader? Well, it's simple. Many of us today are coming into our own. We are beginning to become more involved, and now more than ever, the youth of America are being called on to help enact the change that the US and the world so desperately need. Some of us, look at these laws, passed many years ago, and believe that it is a pressing issue to abolish the stringent bureaucracy of the past, deciding to forsake harder and more important challenges. Let me assure you, that the age at which you are legally allowed to get hammered should not be your first priority. Remember, there is always the possibility of a better tomorrow, what can you do to make it a reality?