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Alcohol problems stem from U.S. laws, not Duke

I am from Canada. In Canada, we can drink when we're 19 and undercover cops aren't the only employees at liquor stores. And when a cop stops you for speeding, they don't ask to see if you have a fake ID. I've now been in the United States for about two weeks and I wish to present to you my thoughts on this alcohol issue. When I left home, my friends laughed at me, joking about my "Orientation Week," a painfully awkward and disturbingly dry five days. In Canada, they have "Frosh Week": Seven days where the goal of every upperclassman is to get positively tanked with as many freshmen as possible.

I have read articles and heard upperclassmen whine about how Duke needs to return back to its past, more liberal drinking rules. But in reality, it is not the drinking rules of this University that cause the problems. Rather, it is the drinking laws of this fair country. In this, the most "democratic" of countries, how is it that an 18 year-old can elect representatives to the most important government in the world, but cannot enjoy a cold brew after a hard day's work? How is it that this same person can be drafted and die for his country, but can't drink? Why can I start a company, have a bank account, hold property and sign my own legal documents, but I can't legally drink? In light of these facts, I make declaration right now that the drinking age of 21 in the U.S. is the most absurd and ridiculous law I have ever heard of.

The drinking limit also increases the abuse of alcohol. When I was in Cancun this past Spring Break, I was with a group of about 50 kids from my high school. We drank and partied and did all of the regular things that one would expect to do in Cancun. While there, I also made an observation. The Americans were the biggest, most irresponsible drunks in the whole place (it's not your fault, I'll explain in a second). And from this observation, I formulated a theory: The drinking age of 21 does not limit underage drinking. Instead, it limits the frequency with which youths can procure alcohol. As a result, binge drinking soars as people make up for lost time, and Americans tend to the extremes of drunkenness because (please don't hate me for this) of a lack of drinking experience. Rarely do people under 21 drink socially just to enjoy alcohol. It is almost always in an attempt to get drunk.

As I stroll around West Campus this weekend, desperately searching for free booze, I too will fall victim to this American phenomenon.

But I wont direct my frustration towards the administration of this University, but rather towards the ledgers that contain the laws of this land.


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