For a long time, alcohol consumption has been viewed as a decadent rite of passage in the United States. However, this perception leads people to abuse and overindulge in it.
The dangerous and irresponsible assumption that a certain amount of alcohol can improve one’s situation is why the drinking age in the U.S. should not be lowered.
While discussing the topic of lowering the drinking age limit, people often bring up the point that places like Europe allow 18-year-olds to drink. However, this is an unfair argument because Europeans and other countries have a different culture surrounding drinking.
Many countries outside of the U.S. have different ceremonies, applications and uses for alcohol. People in these countries have grown up using alcohol for something more than drinking themselves into oblivion.
Last summer, I travelled to Romania as a student volunteer. During my trip, I stayed with a host family. For two months I lived with them and partook in their daily routines. One specific ritual I remember is having a shot glass full of pálinka, a fruit brandy, with some of my meals.
In the village I stayed at, the pálinka was more than just an alcoholic beverage. It was something that the villagers made from scratch, starting with the tree that would eventually bare the fruit to make the pálinka. This is something the people in the village took pride in, and the recipes for the pálinka were specific to every family.
However, in the U.S., people have adopted the idea that alcohol is needed to bring an element of fun to any social function. Americans often assume that alcohol will create an illicit party scene straight out of a Fitzgerald novel.
As a result of this reckless thought process, many Americans overindulge in alcohol. This is also an idea perpetuated by American media, which praises and sensationalizes the effects of alcohol.
Since American culture is ingrained with delusions of what alcohol can do for a person, lowering the legal drinking age will only harm youth. Teenagers partaking in the American ritual of overindulgence is a mistake that could define a young person’s life.
Drunk driving, alcohol poisoning and other alcohol-related health problems are things that teenagers should not have to worry about.