Last week 100 plus college presidents (including some from the most prestigious universities) recommended that the U.S. lower the drinking age to 18. Their reasoning? They say dropping the legal age will lessen the appeal and underground culture of college drinking. They believe it will also reduce binge drinking and prompt 18 to 20-year-olds to be more moderate in their alcohol consumption. Are they joking?! Do they also suppose that fraternity parties will turn into tea-sipping study sessions?
Leading the pack with this so-called Amethyst Initiative is John McCardell, who challenged Vermont in 2005 by saying in the New York Times, "The 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law." McCardell recently added,"All the data show that by the time [students] go to college they have already experienced alcohol, so how can anyone say the law is working?" So is the remedy lowering the drinking age to accommodate juvenile jugging? Do we really think giving young people, who are anxious to experience life outside the boundaries and rules of home, the right to drink will aid their and society's progress?
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For the record, the drinking age was established at 21 years of age in 1933 after Prohibition. In 1971, when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, several states reduced the drinking age too. In 1984, however, with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, all U.S. states were required to return the drinking age to 21. Ever since, alcohol-related fatalities have dropped 56 percent (except for a spike over the last decade). And now 100 college presidents want to raise those lethal statistics even further? As it is, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,700 college students die annually in alcohol-related deaths, not including the victims also killed in those incidents.
No surprise that organized opposition to dropping the legal drinking age is rising up all over the country, like from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Jeffrey Levy, who sits on the board of directors for MADD, and has suffered through the death of his own 20-year-old son from an alcohol-related car accident, responded, "We think their first concern should be the health, welfare and safety of the students, and it certainly isn't. Their facts are terribly wrong. They want to take themselves off the hook. If they change the law, it's not their problem."
As if America's universities don't have enough problems already that their administrative leaders want to compound them by adding more alcohol consumption to the mix? Personally, I think parents, students and citizens across this land should find out if their local college president belongs to this "gang of 100," and play "100 more bottles of beer on the campus" by petitioning and voting them out one by one!
We must do and believe better for the Millennial generation – those ages 18 to 29 – than to merely increase their legalization to guzzle gin or beer bong. On the contrary, we must equip them to positively change our country and world, not restrict them by enabling their illicit behaviors. Empowering the younger generation is why I committed an entire chapter to them in my new (Sept. 7 release) book, "Black Belt Patriotism." (I guarantee that one answer you won't find in it to reawaken America is lowering the drinking age!)
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Here's a first-seen small glimpse from the chapter titled, "Calling all Millennials!"
It's easy to criticize the inadequacies of young people. It's far more difficult to invest in kids, but much more rewarding. It's even much harder to tell them, "We need you to help us reawaken America and rebuild what our Founding Fathers started." But that's exactly what we, the Builder and Baby-Boomer generations, need to say to them. If you're a Millennial, consider this an invitation. We need your help. I need your help to join me and millions of others in a revolution (or, if you will, a rebelution), not to abandon the principles of the past but combine them together with social action in the present to build a better tomorrow. In other words, it's time to make some noise!
It all starts by being willing to make a difference, and finding a way to help, whether it's socially, politically, financially, or by volunteering in your community, church, school, or government. You might have a calling to be a county supervisor, state congressman, or U.S. Representative. Don't reject any option as impossible. Your help might be planned or it might be spontaneous. But you need to be ready, in season or out of season, for whatever your calling might be.
It sounds kind of canned, but I truly believe that there is a hero in all of us. We all were designed by God to be a blessing to others – a champion to someone. And our kids today need champions. They need heroes. And don't think you can't be that hero. You might not be called upon to save someone's life. But all of us can make a difference for the better in someone's life. You might teach them a skill that will enrich their lives. You might remind them of who they are (a child of God) and what they can offer (love and understanding). Every one of them needs to know someone loves them, someone cares for them, God has a plan and purpose for their life, and their life is the most priceless thing on this planet. …
If we're going to win the culture war, we need the Millennials to do it. There is no way around it. We need to reengage with our young people and plug them into America's glorious past so they can build a brighter future.