MADD is not going to take the open debate on the possibility of lowering the legal drinking age lying down. Despite polls that show over 3/4 of Americans are against lowering the legal drinking age, MADD is doing what they can to make sure it stays tamped down and under control. Part of that campaign is a new blog, "Why 21?"
The blog, so far, is mostly "hey look, lowering the drinking age doesn't work, told ya!" kind of stuff, the same kind of anecdotal, half-science/half-threat stuff the anti-alcohol squeaks have relied on for years -- Actually, you know what? I just made up my mind: I'm going nomenclature on their ass. I hereby decide to refer to these people as what they are: the New Drys. Call 'em as I see 'em, and make no mistake -- these people are the direct descendants of Wayne Wheeler and Carrie Nation. From now on, that's what I'm calling them.
Now, where was I? Ah, yes, the MADD blog. The thing that's amazing, is that so far, they have allowed comments on their posts. You can't sign in anonymously, but they don't moderate, otherwise. I've posted what I've thought of their stuff, and it's still there. I don't know if they're forthright or just stupid, but my hat's off to them for that. And of course, I'd encourage you to go have a look and leave whatever civil comments you think of as you read. It reads like a bunch of weakly correlated suppostion to me, but I admit I may have my own slant on things.
Last week, in response to their urging MADD members to act against this lowering of the drinking age idea, I asked my homebrew and beer enthusiasts clubs to write to their members of congress - I encourage you all to do the same (the MADD folks are asking their mailing list to do the same). I believe that it isn't that the majority of the country agrees with them, but that they are so well organized it only appears that way. I'm hoping that we, as responsible beer and alcohol enthusiasts, can someday be so well organized as to counter their zeal with our reps, letting our elected officials hear more than one side of this MADDness.
As for the site, Why21, their Myths and Facts area is downright laughable and the fact that their spokesmen (at least in last weeks media blitz) is a 20 year old guy... nothing says "Mothers" like a baby-faced boy.
Oh, if you believe their "facts", 77% of the USA is opposed to lowering the drinking age. If we say nothing - I suppose someday that number may be "fact".
The galling thing is the way MADD hides behind the grief of those who lost loved ones to drunk drivers, using them as pawns to push their real political agenda. How different is it, not in scope, but in theory, from terrorists who shoot at soldiers from inside mosques?
I think 'The New Drys' is as appropriate a name as any for the neo-prohibitionists. Maybe we'll homebrew a 'MADD Imperious Porter' in their honor.
Well, you know... I do admire MADD for the work they did on getting drunk drivers off the road. I feel safer on the roads now, I do. But I really wish they would have stuck to that, and not become the fanatically prohibitionist outfit that they are.
There is still important work to be done on drunk driving, and continuing to ratchet down the legal BAC is not it, and neither is installing ignition interlocks on the cars of first-time offenders (although that does make the manufacturers of those devices happy...they're contributors to MADD, too). We need a realistic way to keep repeat offenders off the road. THAT would save lives. Why not get to work on it?
I agree, as does everyone who still has a driver's license, that getting drunks off the road is very important. I just don't think that's MADD's actual goal.
Unless the means by which they mean to achieve that end is to wage a campaign to remove all alcohol from American society. Of course, this heavy-handed manifesto would invite the scorn of most of the nation.
You'll note, Mark, that I say I admire MADD for the work they did. Getting drunks off the road was their goal. They've added underage drinking to that. I think that the ways they're going after underage drinking are the first steps towards Prohibition. That's how the Dry movement started: first it was Temperance, moderate drinking. It soon became fanatically anti-alcohol. MADD's on that glide path.
MADD is in the business of self-preservation.
A logical descendant to them, I say, would be an organization that backs raising the age for driving privileges.
That's a bit draconian, perhaps. But youth, inexperience, speeding, text messaging (and similar gadget play or inattentive driving habits) and SUVs (and subcompacts) make for a volatile modernday mix.
You can stir booze into that, but I'd argue that you're far more likely to encounter on a daily basis some combination of those other factors before you are a tipsy driver (and I'm not defending DUI, either).
The highway menace has a new name, and it isn't John Barleycorn.
We at Choose Responsibility (http://www.chooseresponsibility.org/) thank you for all you've done to point out the holes in MADD's posts on it's new blog and website. We were quite flattered to see that their new site, ostensibly put up in response to our bothersome existence, looks strikingly like our own.
Thanks for carrying the torch! Keep in touch if you have other ideas for sparking the drinking age debate.
Grace @ [CR]
Thanks, Grace. Doing what I can to further the debate!
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