Write and discuss an essay on about under age drinking in California

This essay will be about under age drinking, Californa legal drinking age is 21 so personal opnion, write about it should be younger than 21 or above for legal drinking.

It also has to be added short summary of this article

It was a day of shame for the Bushes, an incident made all the

more embarrassing by the family’s previous well-publicized diffi

culties with alcohol. I refer, of course, to the regrettable 1997

decision by then-governor George W. Bush to approve legislation

further toughening the penalties for underage drinking. In Texas,

the legal drinking age is 21. A typical Texan of 19—let’s call her

“Jenna”—is judged to be responsible enough to vote, drive, marry,

serve in the military, and (this is Texas) be executed, but she is

not, apparently, suffi ciently mature to decide for herself whether

to buy a margarita. The 1997 legislation made things worse: Miller

Time could now mean hard time, a possible six months in jail for

a third offense.

It is a ludicrous and demeaning law, but it has been policed

with all the gung-ho enthusiasm that we have come to expect in

a land where the prohibitionist impulse has never quite died. In

Austin, there is now a special squad of undercover cops dedicated

to fi ghting the scourge of teenage tippling. In other words, they

hang around in bars.

The crusade does not stop there. The Texas Commission

on Alcohol and Drug Abuse boasts a campaign called

“2young2drink,” which features billboards, a hotline (Denounce

your friends!), and a program enticingly known as “Shattered

Dreams.” Other efforts include the Texas Alcoholic Beverage

Commission’s sting operations (Make your kid a snoop!) and,

for those parents 2stupid2think, a helpful series of danger signs

compiled by the Texas Safety Network. One early indicator that

your child is drinking may be the “smell of alcohol on [his] breath.”

Who knew?

But it’s unfair to single out Texas. The legal drinking age has

been raised to 21 in every state, a dreary legacy of Elizabeth

Dole’s otherwise unremarkable tenure as President Reagan’s

transportation secretary. She is not apologizing; her only regret is

that the age of barroom consent was not increased to 24. In her Jihad against gin, Mrs. Dole forgot that the guiding principle of the

Reagan administration was supposed to be a reduction in the role

of the state.

And, as usual, government is not going to do any good. The

only circumstances in which the approach taken by the zerotolerance

zealots could have the faintest chance of success would be

in a society where alcohol was a rarity. Zero tolerance has been a

disastrous failure in the case of young people and illegal drugs;

how can it be expected to work with a product that is available

in every mall or corner store? Sooner or later, your child will be

confronted with that seductive bottle. The only question is how he

is going to deal with it.

Not well, if the Dole approach continues to hold sway.

Demonizing alcohol—and thus elevating it to the status of forbidden

fruit—is counterproductive. Adult disapproval magically

transforms that margarita from a simple pleasure into an especially

thrilling act of rebellion.

My parents avoided this error. Growing up in more tolerant

England, I could always ask them for a drink, and, fairly frequently,

I would even be given one. At least partly as a result, I went

through adolescence without feeling any need to drink a pint to

make a point. My drinks were for the right reasons. The only recollection

I have of any real parental anxiety in this area was when,

at the age of about 13, I accepted a brandy from a friend of the

family (an alleged murderer, as it happens, but that’s another story).

The worry was not the drink, but the uninsured glass containing

it: antique, priceless, and, as our host explained to my trembling

mother, quite irreplaceable. In the event, the glass survived me, and

I survived the drink.

Parents, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how and when

their offspring should be permitted to drink. Intelligent parents

don’t let alcohol become a big deal, a mystery or a battleground.

They teach its perils, but its pleasures, too. Have a bottle of wine

on the table, and let the kids take a gulp; it will not, I promise, turn

them into Frenchmen. Treat a drink as a part of growing up, as

something to be savored within a family, rather than guzzled down

in some rite to mark passage from that family.

Furthermore, too much of the discussion about alcohol in this

country refl ects prohibitionist fervor rather than scientifi c fact.

We act as if alcohol were a vice, a degenerate habit that can—at

best—be tolerated. In reality, it does not need to be apologized for.

Alcohol has been a valuable part of Western culture for thousands

of years. It can be abused, sure, but it can inspire as well as intoxicate,

illuminate as well as irritate. In excess, the demon drink merits

its nickname; in moderation, it can be good for you.

Ah yes, some will say, but what about drunk driving? They have

a point. While it is possible to debate the numbers, there can be

little doubt that the higher drinking age has coincided with a reduction

in the number of highway deaths. But has the price been

worth paying? The question sounds callous, particularly given the

horrors of the individual tragedies that make up the statistics, but

all legislation is, in the end, a matter of fi nding a balance between

competing rights, interests, and responsibilities. We could, for example,

save lives by denying drivers’ licenses to those over 65, but

we do not. We understand the trade-off: There is an interest in

safer roads, but there is also an interest in allowing older people

to retain their independence.

In the case of the drinking age, the balance has shifted too far

in one direction, away from individual responsibility and towards

government control. Raising the limit may have reduced drunken

driving, but the cost in lost freedom has been too high, and, quite

possibly, unnecessary: Alcohol-related auto accidents seem to

be falling in most age categories. The problem of teen DWI is

best dealt with directly, by strengthening the deterrents, rather

than obliquely, in the context of a wider attack on “underage”

drinking—an attack that might, in fact, ultimately backfi re on those

whose interest lies in combating the drunk at the wheel.

For the most striking thing of all about the minimum drinking

age of 21 is how unsuccessful it has been. A 19-year-old in

search of a drink will not have to hunt for long; just ask “Jenna.”

Almost impossible to police effectively, our current policy sends

a signal to the young that our legal system is capricious, weak,

occasionally vindictive, and not to be respected. In the interest

of enforcing important laws—such as those against drunk

driving—we should do what we can to make sure our young

people see the police not as interfering busybodies, but as

representatives of a mature, broadly respected moral order,

who are prepared to treat them as adults. Those who believe

government should be in the message-sending business should

pay a little more attention to the message they are really

sending, when they ask the police to enforce unenforceable—

and frankly indefensible—taboos.

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