I should probably shut-up about this, but those gentle-folk over at MADD piss me off so I'm writing about it, again.
Back in elementary school, we all learned there were two ways to pass a law. The first was by representation: we elect a guy by democratic means and he goes to a thing called a "congress" where they vote by democratic means and make laws. Pretty straight forward, there's no problem there.
The second way to pass a law is by direct action: we put an issue on a ballot and we each vote "yay" or "nay" and the law passes or it doesn't. Again, very straight forward, no problem.
We actually have two chances to do this. First at the state level, then again at the federal level. That's how it's supposed to work. That's called Democracy and that's how it actually does work for everybody, except Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
There actually is no national drinking age, because it's a state issue. MADD couldn't get the job done that way though. They couldn't get even conservative, anti-drinking states like Mississippi to raise their drinking age by accepted, democratic means...so MADD came up with another plan.
Hold on there big fella, are you saying that MADD consciously circumvented our beloved democratic process to get their law passed? You win or lose! Fair is Fair, Right? NOBODY gets around the process, not even the communists! ...And yet, that's exactly what MADD did.
Unable to get their law passed at the state level, and unwilling to accept defeat, MADD made a deal in congress where lawmakers made it mandatory that any state who wished to receive federal highway funds, MUST raise their state drinking age to twenty-one. Otherwise, they would be federally mandated to maintain their interstate highways without the benefit of federal funding.
See--that way, federal lawmakers aren't directly responsible for the law. They pass the buck on down to the state level. At the state level, lawmakers were obliged to change the law, but could avoid taking responsibility for it by blaming the federal highway fund mandate.
In other words, nobody faced this issue directly and voted yes or no in a way we the people could hold them responsible for it. MADD crapped all over our beloved constitution and democratic ideal so they could have their way--is this how mothers should act? Only if you use the word "mother" immediately followed by the word "fucker".
Recently, The Amethyst Initiative lost two of its original signers due to pressure from MADD. When I say pressure, I mean real pressure. Signers of the initiative report getting hundreds of MADD sponsored emails, demanding they change their position. Laura Dean-Mooney, the president of MADD sent out untold thousands of printed letters and email asking parents to withdraw their children from colleges where the dean or chancelor signed the Amethyst Initiative.
The good news is, our side lost two members, but gained fifteen. The count now stands at one hundred twenty-three signers of the Amethyst Initiative and about a zillion people cheering them on. Including me. Go TEAM!