Thursday, March 10, 2005
Lawmakers in Wisconsin may be dismayed by the dismal military recruiting shortfall that is currently topping the headlines (reports released today show the Army Guard 24% below their year-to-date goals), but they are not standing still in the face of it.
Their latest brainstorm -- lower the drinking age for military personnel in the state to 19. "I think a lot of those individuals wonder why they can go overseas and handle an M-16 and handle major military weapons, yet the country doesn't trust them to go into a bar and have a couple drinks," says Republican Rep. Scott Suder.
It won't be an easy bill to jam through, however. If they make any exceptions to the drinking age they face a 10% reduction in federal highway funds, unless they can get a waiver from the government or permission for a pilot program.
I have heard several on the left cheering for this program as they do for any relaxation of laws regulating substance consumption, as if it were some sign of universal cease and desist in the war on drugs. That notion is so thoroughly misguided I don't even know where to begin. This nasty little piece of legislation has nothing to do with that.
They're selling an image -- offering kids the opportunity to "be all you can be," see the world, live in exotic places, be a man. The idea of piling on privileges not afforded to regular citizens, the notion that you are somehow entitled to be a member of an elite crew and can do so publicly and with impunity while your high-school compatriots can only sit by and look on with envy is a very seductive selling point, especially in a culture that prides itself on substance consumption like the one we live in.
This isn't about lowering the drinking age, people. It's about enticing very young and impressionable kids to kill and die. Wake up.