7 Things You Can Do Before Drinking

7 Things You Can Do Before Drinking

The United States has some odd laws, especially with how late people can drink alcohol.

Our country has a lot of things it cannot seem to straighten out -- including the age at which someone legally gains adult responsibilities. Specifically, alcohol purchase and consumption. 21 is an odd age to restrict alcohol use to, and it is especially abnormal considering some of the other things you can do before purchasing some beer.

1. Enlist in the military.

The most glaring thing you can do before drinking is to join the most prevalent and powerful military in the world. You can go across the world and risk your life for your country, but if you are not 21, then, of course, you cannot relax with a beer. That'd be irresponsible!

2. Smoke cigarettes.

This one does not apply to all states anymore, but for a long period of time, the entire country was on board with allowing teens to start a losing battle with lung cancer. A bottle of wine? Absolutely not. But a pack of cigarettes? For many places you just needed to be 18.

3. Vote.

An entire three years before you can legally drink alcohol, you can vote for political representatives of all levels; as you should be able to do. This seems like a much bigger responsibility than drinking; yet, if you want to drink away the despair of who your country elected, you're out of luck.

4. Legally marry.

You can legally be married at 18 and even earlier with parental consent. You can make a lifelong commitment to someone else and start a family. But no, you can't go buy Bud Light for the football game this weekend. That's horribly irresponsible.

5. Take on student (or other) debt.

This is the most relevant one for people my age, as those of us that are not on full scholarships most likely have taken out some sort of student loans. The loans with interest that, if not responsibly handled by a teenager, could result in a huge financial hit down the road. If thinking about the loans stresses you out though, you legally cannot relax at a bar with some drinks. Alongside those loans, it is very easy for young people to get credit cards. Getting a credit card young has a good purpose in establishing good credit early. However, debt of any sort is a huge responsibility that seems to have not been taught well to this generation of up-and-coming adults. Credit card debt, along with student loan debt, can spiral quickly and seems like a much bigger responsibility than handling your liquor.

6. Become a pilot.

In the United States, you can be issued a Private Pilot Certificate at age 17. You can fly around and see the world at heights others cannot. If you train enough, by age 17, you can become a pilot. However, no matter how much college students practice, police will not give us a drinking license.

7. Buy a gun.

State laws on gun purchases and their different restrictions vary. However, in many states, purchasing a gun of some sort can be done as early as 16 years old. Our government is perfectly fine with high schoolers purchasing weapons, but alcohol stays at 21 as if a weapon meant for killing is not a bigger responsibility than a shot of Fireball.

Is 18 the age you become an adult? Nobody really knows, but our country would rather keep bottles of wine out of the hands of teens rather than face any of the real issues. Maybe one day the age will come down; but until then, underage people could always pick one of those other things to occupy their time with.

Cover Image Credit: Paul Joseph

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The Two-Party System Is The Best System

In America's unqiue political system and climate, the dominance of two parties is the best way to handle it.

People hate the status-quo and the Establishment, inclduding our political system. Across all sides of the political spectrum in the United States, there are calls to dismantle the dominance of the Democrat and Republican Parties in the political arena. In its place, a system filled with multiple parties representing the vast and diverse views of all Americans. The problem? It’ll only make things worse.

Congress rarely gets a meaningful legislation done. Instead the people we elected to represent our values and interest spend their times bickering amongst themselves over who’s more virtuous and why this or that piece of legislation will lead to the downfall of America. If our two-party system were to break up into numerous factions, the fighting and gridlock will only get worse. Right now, some members of congress are willing to put aside their grievances and support a new bill or law because they might be united to support their party, and for better or worse that bill or law will get passed and Congress is at least doing something to address our problems. If congress was divided into four or five parties, similar to British Parliament or the German Bundestag, there will be no unity. Also, members of congress often struggle to find enough votes for a bill even among their own party; imagine how much harder that situation will be if you add in numerous factions with different interests and goals. If we break up to two-party system, there will be no action from Congress. Our government would become even more gridlocked, divided, and inefficient.

In addition, our two-party system helps drown out the more radical parts of the American political arena. On the left you have the radical social justice warrior whose platform is anti-men, anti-white, anti- veterans, and who riot against free speech or any dissenting opinion. On the right you have the Alt-right, who’s main goal is “make America white again” and end “Jewish control of America” by putting down ethnic and racial minorities of all kinds. Unfortunately, there are enough people who subscribe to these beliefs that, if our two-party system ended, would have a decent chance of getting people elected into local offices and even federal ones. With our current system, the Republican and Democrat parties attract numerous moderate voters who would never vote for those radical candidates. are considered “Big tent parties,” in that they attract numerous variants of conservatism and liberalism.

When it comes to the president, adding more parties to the mix will only result in much more divided, hostile elections. Most election results will consist of the popular vote being very fractured, with the most popular candidate usually receiving at most 40% of the popular vote, resulting with large majorities voting against them. If this is the case, then presidential elections will no longer resemble the will of the people. If the electoral college is to remain in place, it will be very, very difficult for someone to get 270 votes, throwing the election to the House of Representatives, and furthering complicating the process and dividing the nation even more.

The only way for a multi-party system to possibly work in the US could be if it were modelled after the way France selects its president: one election where the two candidates with the most votes then go on to a final vote. However, many of the problems of the multi-party system will still arise, such as the potential rise of extremists, and candidates being allowed to ignore many of the issues of many voters due to the parties not encompassing several viewpoints and ideologies.

The two-party system is flawed of course, and it very well might benefit from having a third, competitive, party, however transitioning into a European electoral system would only worsen the inefficacies and divisiveness that plague our current system. Like all other things about this country, the United States has a political system different from that of other developed nations, and as of right now the two-party system is the best way to handle it.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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No, Arming Teachers Is Not The Solution To The Gun Control Problem

In response to the Stoneman Douglas shooting, lawmakers in Florida finally passed a act supporting stricter gun regulations. However, they've gone about it the wrong way.

Almost a month after the mass shooting that killed 17 schoolchildren in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers in Florida pass the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, honoring the school where the shooting took place. In many ways, this act is an amazing step towards full gun control in the United States. They’ve raised the age required to buy firearms, required more thorough mental health background checks for those buying them, created the Office of Safe Schools within the Department of Education, and banned specific acts pertaining to the sale and use of bump fire stocks (additions to firearms that can make shooting in rapid succession much easier).

However, there’s one important addition to this new act that seems to have taken a step in a completely different direction – and that’s the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which honors the Stoneman Douglas coach that died protecting his students. This program lets each individual school district and their local sheriff’s department decide on whether or not they want to arm teachers. This could potentially have the opposite effect on school safety and could have devastating consequences, furthering the problem.

It’s been proven again and again that the only way to create a safe environment and prevent mass shootings is to create strict gun control laws all over the country, not just in one or two states, and to not introduce more guns into the country. Nations like Japan and Australia are among some of the ones that have the strictest gun control laws, and they are also among the countries that have the lowest rates of mass shootings and gun related deaths.

Introducing guns in classrooms are just going to make things worse. During an emergency, the teacher could be overwhelmed by their students and have the gun taken from them. Or, because of their proximity to students, they could accidentally shoot one of them, instead. Since people would know which teachers are armed and which ones aren’t, perpetrators could use this to their advantage and escalate the situation by taking control of those guns, too. And if the counterargument to this is that the guns would be locked away and protected by a safe or kept somewhere other than the teachers’ classrooms, then how can they even be grabbed in time to act in an emergency situation?

Furthermore, arming teachers is an even bigger threat to minority schoolchildren. Black children already face an extremely disproportionate amount of punishment than white children, and adding guns into the mix is creating more problems. If in the event of an emergency, a white teacher hears gunshots and looks outside of his classroom and sees one of his students, a person of color, running down the hallway with a hand his pocket, what’s to stop the teacher from panicking and shooting his student? Even the student’s hand was only holding his phone so he could text his parents as soon as he reached a safe area to do so? Many people are worried that poorer, more Republican school districts with white teachers and students of color will opt into this program, now creating further danger. Kids who aren’t white are already being taught to run away from police officers because of their unfair treatment to people of color. They shouldn’t have to fear their teachers, the people who are supposed to be nurturing and helping them grow, too.

Instead, schools should up security and make it much harder to enter into the building without an ID. Station police officers who are specially trained for schools. Teach students what to do in an emergency situation. Offer better mental health counseling. The country can do its part by tightening gun regulations, just as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act proposed.

Already, the act is under fire from the National Rifle Association. The NRA is suing because they believe that raising the age limit is a violation of the Constitution, and they will stop at nothing to make the most money and sell the most firearms. However, they had no protest against the possibility of arming teachers. Do we really want to do something that an organization like the NRA supports?

This Wednesday, students all over the United States walked out of their schools to protest the lack of gun control in the United States. Let’s not give them another reason to do so again.

Cover Image Credit: Time Magazine

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