Saturday, July 03, 2004

Here's a fun little item: Peter Coors (yes, THAT Coors), running as a Republican for U.S. Senate, has come out in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18. The immediate and opposite reaction came from all corners, including his own company.

From the Coors Brewing web site: "Peter Coors’ positions on issues as a candidate for the U.S. Senate do not necessarily reflect the positions of Coors Brewing Company. Regarding any possible lowering of the drinking age, Coors Brewing Company does not support lowering the drinking age... The company has, and will continue to, actively support legislation to reduce youth access to alcohol... and sanctions against adults who provide alcohol to children..."

The unfortunate part is, I actually agree with some of Peter Coors' statement. The national drinking age of 21 came about during Reagan's years, pointing out the hypocrisy of his "New Federalism." See, with the end of prohibition, in Ronnie's youth, the power to regulate alcohol was granted to the states. The Feds would have no ability to say who could or couldn't drink.

So, Reagan, while professing to "give power back to the states," actually blackmailed them into raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. He did this not by passing a law saying, "the national drinking age shall be 21." No, as we just covered, that's not within the Federal Government's rights to do. He did it by threatening to withhold federal highway money to any state that didn't raise the minimum drinking age.

Now, there may be legitimate reasons for the drinking age to be 21. And there may be legitimate reasons for it to be 18. Or any other age, for that matter. The problem is, we never got to have that debate. While each state should have been able to decide for itself the answer to that question, we were forced to accept one man's answer through the power of the budgeting pen. That's basically a form of extortion, and should be frowned upon in a democracy.

I don't know if Peter Coors will make a good Senator from Colorado or not - that's up to the folks that live there, not me - but he should be allowed to have his say. And it might be a good idea to listen to the debate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Twitter Feed