I have long been an advocate of a bright-line for adulthood, rather than the tiered system employed by the current state of legislation that we now live under. When I was growing up, you became an adult at age 18. You could do, at that age, anything that any other adult could do . Join the military, own property, enter into contracts, vote, and walk into a bar and get a drink.
In those innocent days (tongue firmly in cheek here), a father had the responsibility of training a boy into adulthood. But, the line was clear and easy to recognize. One day you were a child, the next day you were an adult; responsible for your own decisions and actions. It was a simple concept.
In 1984, Congress passed the National Drinking Age Act, which recognized that states had the responsibility to set the drinking age, but which threatened to withhold up to 10% of their federal highway funds if they didn't set the drinking age at 21. Many states bowed to the leviathan of federal highway funds, but some resisted. Louisiana held out until 1998 or 1999. I had a son of the age, who left for college at that time, He could legally buy a beer when he left, but couldn't when he returned. He was fairly perturbed about that. We got around the law by the simple expedient of me buying a couple of cases of cheap beer, he inviting his friends, and we'd build a bonfire, lock the cars in the pasture, and I'd unlock the gate at daylight the next morning. It perturbed the horses, but they got over it.
The bright line of adulthood got less bright during the Obama administration. My daughter was going back to college after several years of living on her own, and needed my tax returns to apply for federal student loans. She had been an adult for several years, but needed Daddy's paperwork. Bah-humbug. And, under that same administration, an adult could be kept on Daddy's health insurance until age 25. Complete and utter nonsense.
I'm telling you all this because I read this morning that Wisconsin is thinking about lowering the drinking age to 19. I say Hooray Wisconsin, at least for having the conversation.
I've always been one that argues for a bright-line age for adulthood, rather than the tiered system we use today. Set one age where all the benefits and responsibilities of adulthood flow to the person. It's sensible, easy to understand, and protects the rights of everyone. For myself, I'd set that age at the time when the person can walk into a recruiting office and sign their own enlistment papers. If you're willing to pick up a rifle and defend the country, then you should be able to walk into the club and buy a beer.