Controversy over the Drinking Age

944 Words4 Pages
For decades now, the issue of what age should be considered the proper age to drink alcohol has been intensely debated. Since the 1980s, the nationwide legal drinking age has been 21 and older for the United States. However, this age limit imposed on the consumption of alcohol was controversial then, and it continues to be so today.

In 2008, John McCardell, leader of Choose Responsibility and former president of Middlebury College, joined a campaign known as the Amethyst Initiative, which proposed lowering the drinking age to an unspecified number (Amethyst Initiative). In conjunction with this initiative, McCardell wrote an article entitled “Rethinking the drinking age of 21”. On the other hand, an article in the Chicago Tribune called “Keep the drinking age at 21” argues why the drinking age should remain the same. Both of these conflicting essays take a personal stance on a long-debated issue. While McCardell explains his desire for a lower drinking age, the Chicago Tribune attempts to refute any possible reason the legal drinking age should be lower than 21.

One particular matter that McCardell and the Chicago Tribune disagree on is the issue of statistics. In his essay, McCardell disputes the idea that statistics should be used to maintain the legal drinking age of 21. He argues that “even when the findings [of studies that determine the connection between alcohol problems and the drinking age] are inconsistent…we have tried to frame policies whose effects can be best measured by more data, statistics, charts, correlations, and formulae.” McCardell is frustrated that what he sees as unreliable statistics and data are being used as reasons to keep the legal drinking age at 21. He goes on to clarify why he views the statisti...

... middle of paper ...

...ons that the drinking age has had on the safety of college students. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune uses statistics to express its belief that the drinking age of 21 is safer than that of a lower drinking age, and that lowering the drinking age will only cause more harm to individuals, not result in their safety. Both essays are primarily concerned with which drinking age will lead to the optimal safety of the individual. Perhaps this common ground can lead to a compromise within the debate concerning the legal drinking age.

Works Cited

"Amethyst Initiative." Amethyst Initiative » Welcome to the Amethyst Initiative. Web. 23 Sept. 2011. .

"Keep the Drinking Age at 21." Chicago Tribune. 26 Aug. 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2011.

McCardell, John. "Rethinking the Drinking Age of 21." The Guardian. 22 Aug. 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2011.

More about Controversy over the Drinking Age

Open Document