There is a crisis going on in the United States today. It is present in every town and every family. It affects the rich and the poor and the young and the old. It claims more lives than shootings, car accidents, plane crashes, and wars… combined. The Media does not report on it. The Schools do not teach of it. It is ingrained so deeply into the American Culture that even children view it as completely normal, even partaking in it. It isn’t terrorism and it’s not crime. It is the consumption of alcohol.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 88,000 Americans will die this year of disease induced by alcohol. In addition, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,000 will die in car crashes where at least one driver was impaired by alcohol. But the Bottle’s bloody trail goes far beyond that. According to a study by the University of Michigan, 50% of sexual assaults and rapes occur when either the perpetrator in under the influence of alcohol. Furthermore, about 40% of homelessness is caused by alcohol, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Despite incontrovertible evidence, every single US state allows the sale of Alcohol. America’s infatuation with alcohol goes back to the early history of our country. In the year 1820, the average American over 15 years old consumed seven gallons of alcohol per year. This number was primarily accounted for by drinking men, who in their drunkenness commonly abused their wives. It wasn’t a coincidence that one of the first major activists for the first Prohibition movement was suffragette Susan B. Anthony. In fact, the first Prohibition movement was a sibling cause along with not only Suffrage but also Abolitionism. However unlike Suffrage and Abolitionism, Prohibition is seen by people today as a mistake and a failure. This idea is born out of several misconceptions about nationwide Prohibition.
In 1919, Prohibition was codified in the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, the implementation of Prohibition was largely successful. Hospitalizations for Liver disease and alcohol-induced psychosis both dropped well below half their pre-ban level. Arrests for public drunkenness declined by half as well. One of the greatest myths propagated by the far-right surrounding Prohibition is that it caused a spike in organized crime. In fact, homicide rates did not rise in the 1920’s. Theses myths persist in our culture due to our addiction to alcohol. If the USA was a single person, he would display all the tendencies of a full-blown alcoholic: denying his addiction and denying the harmfulness of alcohol.
…And for every alcoholic, there is a bartender counting his money. Alcohol companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Heineken are allowed to buy out TV ads and billboards. The Alcoholic Beverage industry is expected to be worth 1.5 trillion dollars by 2022. One of the reasons the industry is so persistent is the lie of “drinking responsibly”. This phrase is tacked onto the end of every beer and wine commercial on TV, as a cop-out for the disastrous consequences of their business. However, drinking by definition cannot be responsible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s position on the relationship between blood alcohol concentration and driving is that driving performance degrades after just one drink. Imagine if smoking ads showed women partying with cigarettes hanging out their mouths, along with the phrase ‘please smoke responsibly’. Rightly, the FCC prohibits tobacco companies from advertising on TV, and Hollywood has reigned in the use of tobacco imagery in movies. However alcohol remains unhindered.
It is a sad commentary, but it is undeniable that many high-school age teenagers drink alcohol. Little do they know they are dooming their futures. Those who drink alcohol let pain and abuse into their lives. Many will laugh, but the worst part of their lives will be this memory. O, how the words of this very spinnaker article will work upon the mind of a Cohasset High Student whose life has been overturned by alcohol. These people need our help now, we cannot wait while Congress stays loyal to their corporate donors. The lowest level of Government is the individual, and our community. We can change, but only if we want to. We must acknowledge the danger that alcohol poses to our people and take actions in our own households. We are on the verge of another roaring 20’s, let us commemorate by reviving the black sheep of the progressive era, and banning all alcohol in the United States.