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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Politics Intrude

Wow, who'da thunk this issue would have made it into Presidential politics?
[At] the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Dartmouth last night, ... a mother of two asked if any of them would back removing the federal mandate for a 21 LDA [drinking age], which she believes to be counter-productive. Joe Biden led the very disappointing responses by bloviating about drunk driving deaths, alcoholism, and fetal alcohol syndrome...all of which really have nothing to do with the 21 LDA. Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson fell over themselves to agree, dismissing the very idea of lowering the LDA, or giving that power back to the states (because that, after all, was what the woman was really asking).
More important, who cares? There may be some relationship between a higher drinking age and a mystique that therefore grows up around it,* but does this really rise to presidential-level importance? Can't those who want it lowered just take it up with their congressperson?

*Which, incidentally, I don't buy. I'd like to see the stats about what it was like before we raised the drinking age to 21. We have a Puritanical culture and the danger of drinking has been a part of our national consciousness for at least 150 years. I don't think anything so modest as changing the drinking age is going to change that anytime soon.

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