22nd August 2008

18 & Over: Age Old Debate

posted in Useful Info |

If you haven’t heard yet, there is a new movement by the National Youth Rights Association (NYRA) to lower the drinking age to 18 years old.   It was highlighted on the front page of MSNBC last week, and completely supports a point made by a reader of this site earlier in the year: see here.  In their 10 years of existance the NYRA has accomplished little more than existing; that and constantly bitching about kid’s not being treated like adults (with the obvious exception of silly matters such as capital punishment, imprisonment, and financial responsibility).  So i would be shocked to see anything come from this movement, other than free publicity for NYRA.  What i do expect to see, however, is our readers weighing in on this topic while they drink to celebrate a new weekend!

If you are interested in learning more about the topic, i would recommend visiting http://www.chooseresponsibility.org/.

By Mark Stauffer

This entry was posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 1:15 pm and is filed under Useful Info. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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  1. 1 On August 22nd, 2008, Chip Sinton said:

    You know whats awesome? Uninformed bloggers who oversimplify issues and ignore petty things like facts when crafting their post(s). I.E. The above

    Now Mark, its obvious you’re an intelligent guy-intelligent enough to have people spend valuable time reading what you post here(including multiple NYRA members). Thats why its all the more disappointing that you would formulate and then publish the above erroneous conclusions. I’ve read some of what you’ve posted here, and I do enjoy it and it is a times amusing. Alas, in this instance, I feel i must defile your comments section with facts and corrections to the above. Hopefully you won’t hold it against me, or NYRA, or teens in general.

    I don’t want to ‘nerd out’ here, but as I see it, there are three main fallacies/problems with your claim that NYRA hasn’t accomplished anything but bitching and won’t get anything except publicity. I realize these fallacies may have originated because NYRA didn’t effectively communicate our accomplishments in an efficient or obvious manner, but i must now relieve you(and your readership) of their blissful misconceptions.

    Mark, you were correct in noting that the National Youth Rights Association IS an organization AND that we have existed for 10 years now. But we’ve done much more than exist during that time period. Existing almost solely on the small donations of an economically disenfranchised class of society, we’ve built up a national organization that is not only important enough to be blogged about and interviewed on CNN during prime time, but is beginning to make real change. Your brief post, which I understand was posted to foster debate not comprehensively review the accomplishments of a youth-led and underfunded organization, ignored NYRA’s role in eliminating unjust curfews in from New York to DC to Florida, NYRA’s advocacy for Students Rights(including a free Students Rights Handbook, organizing for student representation on the School Boards that represent them, and protests on the steps of the Supreme Court), and in getting proposals to lower the voting age in Berkeley and NYC. It completely dismissed our recent victory in helping to get legislation passed in the House of Representatives that harshly crackdown on Behavior Modification Facilities that imprison and torture youth against their will. The Government Accountability Office found that there was no oversight in these facilities and little to no recourse for these teens, who reported astronomically high rates of physical and sexual abuse, who suffered from PTSD that was sometimes WORSE than veterans, who suffered torturous methods far worse and more barbaric than those employed in Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. These are just to name a few of our accomplishments, in a brief overview.

    The second fallacy is that you judged us by our forums. You accuse the organization of bitching constantly about kids not being treated like adults, but what you point to is an unofficial discussion forum that is no even completely populated by our membership. MANY of the posters there aren’t paying members, but just go there to bitch. The organization itself has been achieving positive change as noted above, and has been raising awareness of youth rights. And that ties into my last point.

    Near the end of your relatively short post, you dismiss NYRA’s “free publicity” as if it were nothing. But it is much more. NYRA exists to fight for and promote youth rights, a concept utterly alien to the majority of this nation. Even when we’re not directly involved, when people are enlightened to our positions by googling us or seeing us in the paper or on the news, that makes them aware, that makes them conscious of our movement. Before our existence, the battle for youth rights was disjointed, isolated and laughable. It was insignificant and making no progress. But since we began preaching our message of equality, 20 separate pieces of legislation have been introduced around the nation to lower the voting age. Numberless curfews haven’t even been proposed because lawmakers have seen our refutation of it. Nameless and faceless students have stood up everywhere and utilized their rights. And a national drinking age debate has been rekindled. Such differences are real but unquantifiable, and thus easily dismissed. But as George Orwell famously wrote, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they can not become conscious”. By some miracle of intelligence, self-awareness or blind luck, we’ve become conscious. And we’re trying to awake a nation. You may call it idealism, and I agree. But we have to start somewhere.

    If you would like to see our movement succeed in more newsworthy and quantifable ways though, you could make a tax-deductible donation at youthrights.org. A little goes a long way. I hope i’ve enlightened at least someone with this post, and I hope i’ve cleared up some misconceptions. Oh, and enjoy the ballot box this November, because i won’t be able to. And the next time you’re enjoying a nice scotch or exotically flavored vodka, sip it down knowing it should taste that much better because I, and all those like me, won’t be able to legally enjoy it for almost another half-decade.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Chip Sinton
    President of the National Youth Rights Association
    Minor

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