We all know that drinking can cause a lot of problems. We also all know that prohibiting drinking doesn’t work. Therefore, we are left with the choice of trying to ameliorate the problems associated with drinking (here’s a thought, let’s not have drunk people with weapons) or we can pretend that people are not going to drink to excess and hope for the best.
I’m a fan of amelioration. Cabs, tough domestic violence laws, liver cloning, abortions, whatever it takes to make sure drunken indiscretions don’t ruin lives. That goes for underage drinking too. Sure, it would be great if people under 18 didn’t drink (I refuse to act like a 19-year-old who could be drafted into the Army is “underage” when he cracks open a beer), but that’s not going to happen. Instead of having a stupid “abstinence only” policy when it comes to teen drinking, we should be doing more to help the kids get home safely, with their eyebrows still attached, as they experiment with our national solvent.
Of course, I’m just a mere blogger. If you are a politician — a state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate — who talks tough on the stump about underage drinking but then turn a blind eye to it when you go chat with your son at a raging teenage house party, well, then your “boys will be boys” stance can only be chased with a strong swig of hypocrisy…
We’ve written about Maryland State Attorney General Doug Gansler before. He was last seen here for allegedly telling state troopers to turn on the sirens while ferrying him to routine appointments. Before that, he was out on the stump promising a new law school, apparently because he’s running for governor and it seemed like a nice thing to say.
Now, he’s been busted being at a teen party and doing nothing to stop the likely rampant underage drinking that was all around him. How “likely”? Well, here’s a photo of him obtained by the Baltimore Sun, you tell me whether you think underage drinking was taking place.
Gansler is the old guy in the white dress shirt with his cell phone out.
Now, Gansler doesn’t deny that this is a picture of him. He says he was at the party because he needed to talk about something with his son, a senior graduating from high school. Gansler also doesn’t dispute that there might have been some underage drinking going on. He just doesn’t think that it’s his problem:
Gansler, a Democrat who is running for governor, said this week that he stopped by the Delaware beach house to talk briefly with his teenage son and then left. He said he does not remember whether he saw anyone drinking. But even if he had, Gansler said, it was not his responsibility as a parent or a high-ranking law enforcement official to intervene.
“Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party,” Gansler said. “How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”…
Gansler, in a two-hour interview Tuesday about senior week and the June 13 party, said, “My responsibility is only to my child. … Everybody has their own moral compass. Mine is to raise my own child.” He said firmly that his son was not drinking…
“Was I supposed to serve as the police officer?” Gansler asked. “No.”
No, Mr. Gansler, you’re not a police officer. You’re actually a far more important law enforcement official than a police officer. But since you bring it up, did you even CALL the police? Or were they too busy driving you to your next appointment?
Now, some might say to Gansler the Democrat that IT TAKES A VILLAGE to raise a child. Some might say that it’s exactly this kind of “I’m going to look out for mine, screw yours” approach to parenting that makes America a worse place than it used to be.
Of course, looking at Gansler that way requires us to believe that his son was the only one not drinking at the drinking party. And I haven’t had enough shots today to believe that.
I don’t think we even need to concern ourselves with Gansler’s apparent disregard for the health and safety of all children. We can just focus on his rank hypocrisy:
Gansler has publicly advocated against underage drinking, appearing less than a year ago in a video for the Century Council, a nonprofit that works to combat both teen drinking and drunken driving.
“Parents, you’re the leading influence on your teen’s decision not to drink,” Gansler said in a video filmed as part of the organization’s “Ask, Listen, Learn” initiative to persuade parents to talk to middle-school children about drinking. “It’s never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no.”
Yeah parents, talk to your kids, because the state attorney general isn’t going to lift a finger to help them.
I’d bet that Gansler didn’t do anything because he was afraid. He was afraid that if he got the police involved and broke up the party somebody would figure out that his son was at a teenage kegger and it would be bad for him and his campaign. Getting out as quickly as possible and blaming other parents (months later, by the way, this party happened in June; this motherf**ker didn’t even have the guts to call up other parents and “it’s getting a bit out of hand at the beach house, you might want to check it out”) is the action of a coward.
You know what I would have respected? Even if he didn’t want to call the cops on his own kid (not like anything would have happened to the son of the Attorney General when the cops came to break up the party that he totally wasn’t drinking at), he could have stayed at the party and made sure that everybody got home safely without driving. That might be a high bar of expectations for an average parent, but it’s not too much to ask from a man who claims to have the “moral authority” to be governor of a state. Biglaw partners kind of do it.
OR HE COULD ADVOCATE TO CHANGE THE LAWS SO THEY COMPORT WITH REALITY! That’s an option too. If he’s adult enough to know that sometimes kids do stupid things and sometimes it’s not a big deal that requires immediate police presence, he could try to change laws so that it’s not just white boys in a Delaware beach house than get to have a party without law enforcement all over their asses. Christ, how different do you think Gansler’s reaction would have been if it had been a house party in Baltimore where there was a sticky-icky odor in the air?
Either Gansler’s a hypocrite, a coward, a bad neighbor, or all three at the same time. Hopefully very soon, he won’t be a governor, an attorney general, or employed in public life.
Gansler says breaking up teen party was not his job [Baltimore Sun]