Old Enough to Kill but Not for Votin’

•December 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

In today’s society, alcohol is seen as a sinful delight.  It is portrayed in health classes as a liquid that will ruin one’s life as soon as it passes over the tongue.    This “devil’s nectar”, however, has an age requirement of twenty-one.   For some reason, the government feels that once one reaches that unnecessarily distant age they are more equipped to handle the beverage.  Overall, the nation’s view of alcohol is outdated and immature, proving to the world that America is once again, behind the times.

America is constantly being compared to its European brothers.  Everything from the economy to education is compared.  One aspect of the European culture that is often overlooked is their acceptance of alcohol.  In the United States, alcohol seems almost like a taboo subject.  Overseas, young children are raised drinking wine and are taught to respect the drink.   According to the Cabrini College website www.theloquitur.com, “Allowing children to experience alcohol at a young age, under supervision, is a trend that runs throughout Europe.” The only information children receive in America is the downsides of drinking.   This is an unfortunate way of dealing with the subject.  Children should be taught to respect the drink and use it responsibly at an early age.  Therefore, many alcohol abuse related accidents could be avoided.

When an individual turns eighteen in the U.S, many doors are opened.  That individual can now smoke, vote, have sex, gamble, buy a gun, get married, serve on a jury, pay taxes and even die for their country.  According to Princeton’s newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, “Changing the drinking age to 18 would not only place it in line with the allotment of other rights and obligations, it would also be more logical in terms of contemporary life.” America can send an eighteen year-old overseas to a foreign land to die in a warzone.   Apparently, one can be old enough to kill but not old enough for drinking.  Since when is there an age where it is okay to kill another human being?   A legal adult in the United States is age eighteen.   According to the government, they must wait three more years to fully be considered an adult.   The following is a song written and performed by a very outspoken musician known as Mojo Nixon.  The material is evidently dated, but the message transcends through generations. 

“you know if Reagan finally gets the war he’s lookin for

you think he’s gonna be draftin’ 21 year olds?

No man they’re gonna be draftin’ 18 and 19 year olds

but ya cant buy beer

you can get married and screw yourself up real good

but ya can’t buy beer

ya can charge 8 million dollars on the mastercharge

but ya can’t buy beer

you can vote for one fool or another

but ya can’t buy beer

’cause this is America.”

 

 The hypocrisy is painfully evident.  The great United States of America has its priorities tragically skewed.

Lowering the drinking age would not only save lives but money as well.  According to www.theloquitor.com, “underage drinking is costing Americans nearly $53 billion annually.”  If the drinking age was lowered to the sensible age of eighteen, all this money could be saved.  Imagine pouring billions of dollars back into the economy annually.  Each state would have a significant amount to fix up its less fortunate areas, fix schools or even research alternative energy.    By lowering the drinking age, many underage drinkers would be deterred from drinking because the “thrill” is no longer there.   The main reason for underage drinking is experiencing the excitement of doing something illegal and hoping not to get caught.   Dropping the legal drinking age by three years would eliminate most underage drinking due to the fact that most of the offenders are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one.

Lowering the drinking age would undoubtedly be hectic a first.  For the first few months, years even, many eighteen to twenty year-olds would be getting drunk more often than they already do.  At first, the law may seem like a bad idea, but in time it will prove to be an effective means of controlling America’s unquenchable thirst.   College parties would still have alcohol, but they may be less apt to accept people that were underage.  If drinking was legal at eighteen, college campuses would not have to spend as much time hunting down underage drinkers at parties.  All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons in the debate over lowering the drinking age.   As soon as a U.S citizen is considered an adult, they should be able to enjoy a cold one.  The drinking age should indubitably be lowered to the age of eighteen.  If only the people in power would come to their senses and realize how backwards our society really is

 

 

Works Cited

 

McKee, Kelly. “Alcohol laws: U.S. vs. U.K.” 28 Oct. 2004. Cabrini College.    3 Nov. 2008 <http:/media.www.theloquitur.com>.

 

Mojo Nixon. Burn Down the Malls. Rec. 21 May 1986. Tallywacker Tunes, 1986.

 

Reilly, Katherine. “Why 21? The reasons for lowering the drinking age.” 2 May 2002. Princeton University. 24 Nov. 2008 <http:/www.dailyprincetonian.com/>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those Who Fail to Learn From History…

•December 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The 1960’s were undoubtedly America’s most turbulent decade.  Youth began to reject conformity and began to stand up for what they believe in like never before.  The older generations were shocked at the behavior of these rogue “hippies.”  They listened to crazy new music such as Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana.  These “hippies” also did such things as protest the government’s involvement in foreign affairs and avoid being drafted.   Although there are slight differences, many parallels can be drawn between the turbulent sixties and the equally turbulent twenty-first century.

The main source of debate in the sixties has carried on to the twenty-first century.  This subject is war.  The baby boomers had the Vietnam War.   My generation has the Iraq War.  The United States entered the war with Vietnam because of a faulty document known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.  This resolution was approved by congress and allowed the president to take any action necessary to defeat an enemy that attacked U.S forces.  The facts in the document given to congress indicated that a U.S warship was attacked unprovoked off the coast of Vietnam.  These “facts”, however, were later proved to be false.   The tradition of falsifying facts in order to start an unjust war continued into the twenty first century when the U.S. declared war on Saddam Hussein.  The torch of deceit was then passed to Colin Powell.   He was perfectly sure that Iraq had illegal weapons his following quote proves it; “Indeed, the facts and Iraq’s behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.” Due to his faulty presentation, U.S troops were sent in to take out Saddam’s massive stockpile of WMD’s commonly known as weapons of mass destruction.  Congress and the American people were presented with “proof” that there were indeed WMD’s in Iraq.  In time, it was evident that Iraq no longer possessed such weapons.  In both decades, the United States entered a seemingly endless, pointless, and hastily thrown together conflict.  Obviously those who fail to learn from history are most certainly doomed to repeat it.

The sixties was the first decade in which protesting was used so effectively.  Thousands upon thousands of students across the United States took part in countless demonstrations to speak out against the war in Vietnam.  College campuses were filled with students carrying megaphones shouting anti-war slogans.   This phenomenon, known as protesting, spread from college campuses to include war veterans and even families of veterans.  To this day, the main method to get a point across is by protesting.  Anti-war protests are as much a part of everyday life today as they were forty years ago.   This past year, the high school I once attended held a sit-in to protest social injustice and race problems in the United States. 

The medium in which protesting is most effective is music.  Songs can reach millions by being played over the radio and used in newscasts or even movies.  Songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were in the limelight of producing protest songs.  Music is a universal language, a common ground that all people share.  Music is a way to break down social barriers and get a point across to all types of people.  This extremely efficient way of getting a point across has been used throughout the decades for various reasons.  Musical greats such as Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen are still creating songs protesting the war in Iraq.

Vietnam was the first war in which we did not know our enemy.  The enemy could be anywhere.  There were no uniforms to identify friend from foe.  A farmer by day could very easily be a Vietcong officer by night.  One of the tactics used by the Vietcong was suicide bombings.  In Iraq, too, we fight an unseen enemy.  Danger could be lurking around the next corner; there are no uniforms to identify an enemy or a friend.  The most used tactic to take the lives of U.S soldiers in Iraq is suicide bombing.  The fact that a country is willing to turn to blowing themselves up to get another country out is a dead give away that they do not want to be “liberated.”

Although many parallels have been drawn between the sixties and today, there still are differences.  Forty years ago, the U.S was on the brink of total chaos.  The country was in such turmoil; it was exploding from the inside.  Countless encounters between protestors and riot police claimed the lives of many civilians.  The twenty-first century is not in as bad of shape as it was forty years ago.  Although the country is torn apart by an unpopular war, lives have not been taken in confrontations with riot police.  The United States may seem like it is in shambles, but compared to the sixties, our predicament is quite tame.

It is all too apparent that if we do not learn from our mistakes, we will repeat them.  The events of the 1960’s and those of today are nearly identical.  The events that have happened thus far in the twenty-first century do no need to be repeated.  In order to prevent entering unnecessary wars, our leaders must look to history for guidance.  If the United States is going to remain an influential world power, it must begin to act like one, and not continually make the same mistakes.

 

 

Works Cited

“Transcript of Powell’s U.N. presentation.” 6 Feb. 2003. CNN. 6 Dec. 2008 <http:/http://www.cnn.com/2003/us/02/05/sprj.irq.powell.transcript/>.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

•December 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The roar of the crowd pulsed through me as I struck the first chord.  The spotlight searched the audience then came to rest on my guitar.  The sunburst color of the instrument radiated throughout the venue.    The spotlights began once again to surf the crowd, revealing the amount of people in the auditorium.   At one time my heart would have dropped to the pit of my stomach.  I would have wanted to run off the stage in fear, but my legs would turn to jell-o.  With a six-string slung across my shoulder, the fear inside me subsides.  It rises from me with each roar from the crowd.  In mere seconds I transform from a quiet student to a high voltage rocker. The ability to play guitar is a privilege that has provided me with an outlet of which to express myself in a confident, creative and even challenging manner.

            Complicated does not begin to describe the trials and tribulations associated with learning the six-string.  The old adage no pain no gain, is the single quote that must be kept in mind when learning to play any instrument, especially this one.  Hours upon hours were spent pouring over chord diagrams and sheet music.  At the end of a practice session, my eyes would be strained to the point of extreme pain.  My fingers felt as if blood would begin to flow from them if another note was struck.   The once beautiful bronze guitar strings became soiled from sweat and dirt.  The sound of the strings slowly changed over time from a brilliant shimmer to a dull droning sound.  All the practice hours not only began to wear on me, but my guitar as well.  Being self-taught was a much more painful yet self fulfilling option to learning the guitar.   Having a professional teacher would have been easier in the sense that I would have had guidance, but teaching oneself is a much more gratifying experience.             

            To this day, creativity flows endlessly with a guitar in hand.   Song ideas surge out of my mind in a constant stream.  The hands that make the guitar weep become preoccupied with writing down chord progressions and lyrics.   The work is continuous and seems to be all for nothing.  After an intense writing session, the brain goes limp and begs for a rest.  It asks why it was pushed so hard and refuses to put out anymore musical thoughts.  Much too often, I find myself so upset I have to hurl down the guitar in a fit of rage.  The intense work seems insignificant until someone appreciates it.  One of the greatest compliments to a musician is receiving a call to play at a local site.  In the end, all the time spent creating blank pages into symphonies was well worth the effort.

Having background in guitar allowed me to partake in multiple activities in high school.   Many people approached me and requested lessons; some even offered places to play for a paying audience.  The experience gained as a result of playing an instrument was well worth the troubles associated with the learning process.  The countless hours spent memorizing chords and learning finger positions on the fret board was time well spent. 

Being in front of large crowds used to petrify me.  I would step in front of a crowd and become a deer in the headlights.  Now, with a guitar in hand, I would take stage in the biggest arena the world has to offer.  The fear that once made me limp as a noodle is now nonexistent.  Each time I pick up a six-string I feel as if I can do anything.  Once I hit the first chord in a show, I feel like a new person fathered by rock and roll.

 

A Son for the Sun

•December 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The sun god felt no mercy.  His rays beat down upon the earth, piercing the clouds with divine precision.  The inhabitants of earth were caught in the fiery grasp of the most unforgiving of the gods.  The temperature of the earth began to climb at blistering speeds.  The landscape was turned to ash.   What once was a gorgeous place became a barren wasteland of death and destruction.  The sun god admired his work with extreme satisfaction.  The planet he despised the most was no longer a thorn in his fiery side.  He gazed at the new landscape he created, taking in all of the carnage.  His eyes were immediately drawn to a small figure caked in ash.  He looked closer at the mysterious figure but could not see its true identity.   He soon realized the figure was a newborn baby.   He saw the baby’s soft skin and wide blue eyes staring back at him.  The rage that once burned inside the sun god seemed to be slowly extinguished.   The surface of the earth was no longer bathed in the intense rays of the sun.  The sun that once baked the earth was replaced by the depressing gray color of clouds.  The sun god no longer wished to gaze upon his destructive creation and covered it with thick clouds.    The once merciless god came to realize the dreadful outcome of his brutal ways.   He no longer felt as powerful as he once had and his rays gradually receded into the clouds.

The sun god took the baby in and nurtured it as his own.  He named the child Raven because of its cunningness and ability to outsmart a god.  He watched the child grow, and realized that he had a talented child who loved life.  The child grew to adore music and the outdoors and the warmth of the sun.   The child was a little boy who brought a once nonexistent smile to the sun god’s face.   As the boy grew, he began to read and play sports.  The sun god felt blessed to have this little boy in his life.  He could not imagine life without his new friend.   Yet, something seemed to be bothering his new little friend.   The sun god knew that there was still life on earth and he also knew he must give the child an opportunity to live with his true family.   Any family that survived his brutal ways did not deserve to be kept apart.

The sun god thought back to the day he discovered the small boy.   The date was June 18, 1990.  The location was an insignificant little town known as DeWitt.  He thought of the family that the child belonged to and soon became sad.  He knew one day he would have to return his new best friend.  The sun god loved the child but knew what he had to do.  The child was not as happy as he once was and it was time for the sun god and the boy to go separate ways.   

The sun god located the boy’s family and returned him to his rightful home.  He watched his small friend instantly bond with his true parents.  The boy’s parents were the two most loving people he could ask for.  The sun god knew he had made the right decision for the small boy.  The parents encouraged the boy in everything he did and were always there for him.  The sun god watched as the child transcended into his teenage years and even into college.  He watched the hardships and tough times the family went through and admired their love for each other.   He also learned that the family named the boy Corbin, which is Latin for Raven.  

The sun god looked on as Corbin graduated high school and moved on to college.  The distance between the boy’s college and his family was extremely far.  The sun god could not understand why he would move so far away.  He thought and thought, but could not understand the boy’s decision.  If the boy had such a loving and caring family, why would he leave them?  The sun god then realized that this family was an extraordinary family.  They would have to be in order to survive his once mighty wrath.  He then came to the conclusion that nothing could tear this family apart, no matter what the distance or circumstance.  He realized what he created was group of three people who loved each other very much.  The sun god never again underestimated the importance of a family, especially one as close as this.

The sun god continued to keep an eye on the family, always shining a light when it was needed.   From time to time the boy needed help and the light always led right to the two people he admired most.  His family.

 

 

 

Bowling for Columbine

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This movie shows the world the darker side of America.  It also shows how the media keeps citizens in constant fear.  I think the media should be ashamed of itself.  Constantly keeping the public in fear is the one thing they are supposed to protect us from.  The media is supposed to keep the people informed, not in fear.  I liked how this was portrayed to the audience.  It was also interesting to see the difference between Canada and the United States.  They have very few gun murders and also have normal news.  The United States losses over ten thousand people a year due to gun violence and our news is also violent.  The media is so quick to blame video games and music for violence when in fact the news is the main contributor towards the violent nature in the U.S.

This Happened Where?!

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

On November 6, 2008, there was a police shootout in a small town known as DeWitt.  This little town is about five minutes north of Lansing.  In the wee hours of the morning, police responded to a domestic disturbance.  Upon arriving at the scene, a DeWitt Township officer was shot in the face.  The officer was seriously injured but his injuries were not life threatening.  More police officers arrived at the scene only to take fire from the perpetrator.  No further police injuries were sustained, the suspect was not as lucky.

DeWitt, Michigan is my hometown.  I have lived there for eighteen years.  Nothing happens in DeWitt.  It is a small community right outside Lansing.  Upon reading this article, one would think that this little city is like the Bronx.  This is a false accusation.  The article should have set the scene a little better and explained that this is unheard of in DeWitt and that the most serious crime in DeWitt is usually speeding.  When I read this article, I could not believe it.  I am a little leery of heading to some parts of my hometown when I return, a previously unheard of feeling.

Top Ten Websites

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

1. facebook.com

2. ultimate-guitar.com

3. weather.com

4. addictinggames.com

5. youtube.com

6. xm.com

7. google.com

8. imdb.com

9. nationalgeopgraphic.com

10. commongroundfest.com