Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Drink Nothing Day!

You have probably heard of Buy Nothing Day. Celebrated on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year, this self-explanatory holiday is meant to be a protest against consumerism. But perhaps you didn't know that the biggest drinking day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving. That's right, it's not New Year's Eve, but Thanksgiving Eve, also known as "Blackout Wednesday."

Thus, two years ago we at Twenty-One Debunked have decided to create our own protest holiday, Drink Nothing Day. It is designed as a way for people 21 and over to show solidarity with those under 21 by not drinking any alcohol that day. To observe this holiday, which can only logically be done by folks over 21, one must not drink any form of alcohol at all during the entire 24 hours of that date, as well as the following day until sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner (or until the sun goes down, whichever occurs earlier). Then, one may drink, but one must give thanks that prohibition no longer applies to him or her. Other ways to observe include wearing two black armbands: one to symbolize those soldiers who died before being able to drink legally in the very country they served, and another to symbolize those under 21 who were killed by a drunk driver over 21.

We will continue to observe this holiday until the drinking age is lowered to 18 in all 50 states.  And remember, whether you choose to observe it or not, never drink and drive.  It's just not worth the risk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Will Saskatchewan Lower the Drinking Age?

In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, there is now a movement to lower the drinking age from 19 to 18.  In that province, the drinking age was 21 until 1971, when it was lowered to 18, and was raised to 19 in 1976.  (The neighboring provinces of Alberta and Manitoba have had a drinking age of 18 since the early 1970s, as does Quebec.)    It is not clear whether the movement will succeed, but if it does it would certainly be good for our own movement to lower the drinking age to 18 in the USA.  While we think a drinking age of 19 is significantly better than 21, our ultimate goal is to lower the drinking age to 18 across the board.

Speaking of Canada, it appears that Alberta's tough new drunk driving laws are having a positive impact overall.  The early data show that in the first month of the new crackdown, police are finding fewer people driving under the influence.  As for the putative fear of lost liquor sales, many bars and restaurants are responding by offering more food on their menus and encouraging their patrons to eat.  Thus, overall revenues at such establishments do not appear to have been hurt significantly despite patrons being more cautious about mixing alcohol and driving.  We can really learn a lot from our neighbor to the north.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What About Weed?

This Election Day, two states (Washington and Colorado) made history as the first states to legalize cannabis (weed) for non-medical use since it was banned in the 1930s.  Notably, both states have chosen an age limit of 21 rather than 18.  Thus, it is worth discussing how Twenty-One Debunked stands on cannabis-related issues, which until now have really not been much of a priority for us.

In a nutshell, our creed shall apply to cannabis the same as it does for alcohol, provided that cannabis is already legal or just about to be legalized.  That means that we support an age limit of 18 rather than 21 for purchase and/or possession, and no criminal penalties or criminal record for anyone simply possessing or consuming it.  Passing around a joint or bong should be treated no differently than passing around a tobacco cigarette or a bottle of beer.  Growing one's own cannabis (within reason) should be treated no differently than growing one's own tobacco or brewing one's own beer or wine.  In addition, we support reasonable taxation, regulation, advertising restrictions, and strict quality control of any legally-sold cannabis, and we support tough penalties for driving under the influence. 

However, in states where cannabis is still illegal, our creed shall remain irrelevant and Twenty-One Debunked will not push for legalization in such states since we really have no dog in the fight.   We will leave that cause up to the True Spirit of America Party (TSAP), which strongly supports full legalization of cannabis in all 50 states and especially at the federal level.  But Twenty-One Debunked shall remain neutral on the issue of legalization of any substances other than alcohol.

Let us make it clear that you do NOT have to support legalization of cannabis to join our movement, which is primarily concerned with the drinking age and other alcohol-related issues.  For those pragmatists who do support legalization but believe the age limit should initially be 21 in order to get the bill or initiative to pass (and then lowered to 18 at some point in the future), we see no harm in you joining either.  But those ageists who strongly support legalization only for those over 21 (and harsh penalties for 18-20 year olds who indulge) are probably NOT going to be an asset to our movement to lower the drinking age to 18.  Liberty for "just us, not all" has never been our style, and never will be.