Hillary, What Were You Thinking?

Okay, I’ve been quiet about the presidential primaries for a while, but here’s something I cannot ignore.  Hillary Clinton was in the American heartland this week making a photo op out of drinking alcohol.  For the first time in 30 years, with incredible enthusiasm and drive, the 18-25 crowd has found their place in the politics of America, and she promotes her electability and shows how she can relate to the people by drinking?  As a physician and a mother, I am angry.  It matters that our young people are drinking, and drinking heavily.  And no politician has the right to glorify drinking as though that makes her one of the cool people.  Stupid, Hillary.  Stupid Hillary.  Stupid.

These are some of the facts and challenges:

Healthy People 2010 U.S. Dept. of health and human services:  “Reducing alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among young persons are two national health objectives for 2010”

Indeed, the leading cause of injury and death among college students and young adults in the USA is reported to be binge drinking. 
“Today alcohol is involved in 40% of traffic deaths.  Among persons aged 16 to 20, the percentage is 36.” 

Dr. Michael Miller, quoting a source about alcohol’s effect on the brain:  “Adolescence — this is key to our talk — is a period of significant neuro maturation during which the brain’s efficiency is enhanced through increased myelinization, but also selective removal of synapses. This is called synaptic pruning. This happens particularly in the prefrontal cortex. This area develops in adolescents later than other areas of the brain and through the process of synaptic pruning the prefrontal area becomes more efficient in gaining information; abstract thinking, problem solving, judgment and reasoning are all developed through these neural developmental processes”. 

 Dr. George Lundberg says “Additionally, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that even modest alcohol consumption in late childhood and adolescence results in brain damage.”

Howard Markel, M.D., PhD, notes that “The human brain — especially those regions governing judgment, risk-taking, and other cognitive functions — is actively growing into a person’s 25th year. Consequently, we can’t begin to assess the damage the current college campus epidemic of booze will create for years to come.”
I don’t begrudge mature adults their alcohol.  It’s their choice.  But given the health detriments (and they far outweight the small benefits that various studies report) and the huge public health problems this country faces from alcohol use, is there anything so great about it that a politician should use drinking as a campaign strategy?  Oh puhleeze!

One Response

  1. I am Hillary supporter. I see your point about alcohol. I have attended Al-Anon due to a family member who nearly ruined our lives (or we nearly ruined ours) because of drinking. I still have a beer now and again, but I no longer see it as “fun” or “cool.”

    I don’t see Hillary’s having a drink as irresponsible though. Her appeal is not to the 18-29 year olds at all. That has been proven. She can’t get them. She’s been on the campaign trail which is hard and sitting down and taking a drink to relax and schmooze is something she should feel free to do. She didn’t get drunk or act irresponsibly. I think she has to be allowed to be herself sometimes, and the press is all over her everytime she does anything human.

    I agree with you about the affects of alcohol and the danger it represents to our youth. I am watching my sister-in-law and brother-in-law kill themselves with drink.

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