Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Tanks and Beers

I couldn’t agree more with this.

One Wisconsin lawmaker figures if the U.S. military trusts 19-year-olds with a $10 million tank, then the state should trust them with a beer.

State Rep. Mark Pettis, a Republican who served in the Navy, is pushing a bill that would drop the drinking age to 19 for Wisconsin soldiers — but only if the federal government agrees it will not yank an estimated $50 million a year in highway aid.

A federal law ties federal highway dollars to compliance by the states with the required drinking age of 21.

“We’re treating these young men and women as adults when they’re at war. But we treat them like teenagers when they’re here in the states,” he said.

Pettis admits his proposal will be a tough sell unless Wisconsin gets the federal government’s approval — or at least permission to start a pilot program to prove it will not cause more accidents or other problems opponents associate with a younger drinking age.

Wisconsin transportation officials say the federal government has told them there is no process to apply for a waiver from the drinking age requirement, and creating one would likely take an act of Congress.

The bill would create an exemption for 19- and 20-year-old soldiers from Wisconsin — but not for soldiers from out of state. A valid military ID along with a Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card would be required.

I think the drinking age everywhere ought to be lowered to 18.  All the 21 limit has done is increase incidents of binge drinking among college students.  But I especially agree with this lawmaker’s sentiment that soldiers are expected to act like adults, but they’re treated like children.

When I was stationed in San Diego the Navy lowered the on-base drinking age to 18.  This was to stop sailors going to Tijuana to get drunk.  Of course, there was no drunk college girls in the on-base bars, so we went to Tijuana anyway.  But, astonishingly, the world didn’t end when 18 year old were allowed to drink.

Posted by Lee on 05/31/05 at 07:55 PM in Politics • Permalink

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