Another long year has passed and I’m now nineteen. I can’t believe it. Life has been pretty rough lately, particularly academically. I basically have to wage one last gruesome fight this quarter before good biology classes start coming in.
I got a lot of good birthday wishes, so I’m happy about that. And I got quite a bit done today. I’m strongly considering studying abroad, so I stopped by the EAP office to pick up some brochures. The ecology programs in Costa Rica and Australia seem really interesting.
It’s been a year since my eighteenth birthday Xanga entry, in which I said:
So, soon I’ll be an adult, one of “them”. But I’ll never forget my eighteen years spent as a minor, and I’ll never forget what it was like being one. I vow to always fight for young people under eighteen, because they need respect just like the rest of us.
Indeed, I haven’t given up the fight or forgotten about minors’ veritable second-class treatment. But I want to mention another even more grave injustice in today’s society. As you know, every spring here at UCSD we have our Sun God Festival where students let loose and enjoy Nature’s Best. But to acquire Nature’s Best, one must be not eighteen, the age at which you can freakin do everything else, but twenty-one. Why twenty-one? <shrugs>
It makes absolutely no sense for the legal age of adulthood, at which point one is considered to be legally independent and responsible for him/herself, to be lower than the legal age for purchasing/possessing alcohol. (Apparently, Californians under 21 are prohibited from possessing alcohol, but not from consuming it. It’s a confusing distinction that’s only slightly ameliorated by this resource.) Adults are adults are adults, and if adults are considered responsible for everything else why shouldn’t they be entrusted to drink responsibly? It really makes no sense. The age to legally purchase and possess alcohol should be lowered to eighteen. I have yet to hear a convincing argument justifying the drinking age being higher than the legal adult age. If you have any by all means let me hear it.
The argument a lot of people defending 21 fall back on is “there’s the danger of people driving drunk!” But these people are completely ignoring the contradiction that I’m getting at: if 18-year olds are deemed responsible enough to vote, drive, purchase and consume a bunch of other nasty substances, and just in general taking care of him/herself and being a responsible member of society, why can’t s/he be entrusted to not drive after drinking? And what about twenty-one makes someone more responsible than eighteen, hmmm? If twenty-one year olds are so much more mature than eighteen year olds why not make the legal age twenty-one (as it used to be)? See, there’s a double standard here that represents seriously flawed jurisprudence and an even more serious absence of plain old common sense.
Oh yeah, and to those who cynically think I’m just taking this position because I want to get alcohol for myself: nonsense, I’m standing up for justice and freedom here. If you think I’ll just shut up two years from now when I turn twenty-one, you’re dead wrong. I will reiterate my call to right this wrong every birthday/Sun God until California lowers the drinking age to eighteen.
Finally, it’s long past time to repeal the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. It’s ludicrous; all states should be receiving transportation funding regardless of what they set their drinking age at.
MAY 13 2006 ADDENDUM: Yesterday’s Sun God was freakin sweet, in large part because of the substance that’s the topic of this Xanga entry. You guys should see the forest of empty bottles on my desk (though most of them were for non-alcoholic beverages!). I really wish I had a digital camera; I want to get one for next year (as well as for the future in general).