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As I See It

Wisconsin should consider lower drinking age

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If you’re old enough to fight and die for your country, you should be old enough to drink a beer. That argument has been around for decades, but is getting new traction now that some Wisconsin lawmakers are pushing a bill that would lower the state’s drinking age to 19. And while the saying may be clich√©, it is is true. States were strong-armed into raising the drinking age to 21 back in the 80’s with threats from the federal government to withhold highway funding to any state which didn’t go along with the mandate. But there are many valid reasons for lowering the drinking age. Let’s face it, young adults are already drinking before they turn 21, they simply are doing illegally. Preventing police from having to enforce that law frees them up for more serious matters. And those 19 year olds drinking now often do so at house parties, or in secluded spots where they are away from the watchful eye of others. By making drinking taboo, it becomes more appealing for rebellious teens. And it simply isn’t fair when a 20 year old service member returns from serving in a combat zone to marry his sweetheart cannot legally offer a toast at his own wedding. Getting the federal government to agree to continue to provide highway funding to Wisconsin if it lowered the drinking age would no doubt be a tough sell. But consider that among Western nations, besides the U.S. only Indonesia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka set the legal age that high. We should adopt the European model, where teens are taught to drink responsibly iat an earlier age, in the safety of their own homes.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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