Written by: ALEXIS NICOLE DIEDIKER
Is straight edge just a personal belief or is it truly a movement?
There are many definitions of straight edge. Some believe straight edge is a personal belief. They feel that if others choose to drink or decide to be under the consumption of any drug that it is their personal choice and they’re not about ready to argue with them. Others believe straight edge is a movement where setting an example upon others to become drug-free is a part of what straight edge is about. We can all go back and listen to the words of Ian MacKaye and decide what straight edge first was but the truth is straight edge isn’t what it started out to be. There will never be official set laws for what’s straight edge and what’s not. We can only look at the facts and realize that straight edge isn’t just about a personal choice.
I’ve questioned many straight edge kids who feel it is okay to allow their friends to party. They of course, go off of the ideal that straight edge is a personal choice. If you ask any person why they’ve decided to claim straight edge I’m going to assume that 99% of the time their answer will involve that alcohol and drugs are unhealthy and most of the time fatal substances. Alcohol alone racks up about 100,000 alcohol related deaths a year. The fact that these “straight edge kids” recognize these facts yet enable their friends to drink, smoke, or use drugs is ludicrous. When you see the facts in front of your face and allow those you call friends to open themselves up to the dangers of consumption you ultimately help them lead themselves to death. Enabling what you stand against is hypocrisy. Going to parties, loaning money to friends to buy alcohol or drugs, and not persistently influencing your friends to quit their consumption is going against what you follow.
There are many arguments that alcohol when consumed only hurts the person who drinks it. This argument is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. 380,000 rapes a year are from the cause of alcohol. 75,000 deaths a year are caused by alcohol related accidents and car crashes. Whether you’re behind the wheel drunk or just hanging out with a couple of brews your actions affect everyone. It’s a proven fact that every action you take whether it be walking down the street completely sober or drinking a few wine coolers affects someone. This affect doesn’t necessarily have to be as extreme as a rape or a car accident. So when straight edge kids claim they allow others to drink because it hurts only them then I ask them to take it upon themselves to visit the 75,000 grave stones of those dead from alcohol related accidents and to talk with the 380,000 alcohol related rape victims and tell them that you think it’s okay for your friends to drink. I dare you to tell them that since you enable drug and/or alcohol use by others you support their past fate. No one could muster up enough sense to be able to do this.
One thing I do not condone is pushing ones beliefs onto another. I believe that a huge part of straight edge involves setting example. When straight edge kids attend parties and sit among those who drink mingling you give people who aren’t drug free the impression that it’s okay to drink and do drugs. Whether you’re among friends or strangers sitting in a room where people are drinking, smoking, or doing drugs and have a huge smile on your face as you enjoy the social atmosphere you are clearly giving the notion that it’s okay for others to burn holes down their throats while sipping on a beer as long as everybody’s having a good time right? I once heard a very clever quote that has stayed with me for a while it goes like this “a straight edge kid at a party is like a black man at a KKK rally.”” Enabling drugs is certainly not what straight edge is about.
Most who claim straight edge have friends who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or do certain drugs. Do I believe you should drop your friends with that person? No, I believe you should encourage them every day to drop their habits and their ways of slowly and sometimes quickly killing themselves unknowingly. Tell them the facts, tell them why you’re straight edge, tell them how alcohol and drugs ruin lives regardless of how responsible or “invincible” they are. If someone ignores the fact that drugs and alcohol affect everyone in an unhealthy way then they clearly have no respect for their life or their health.
So is straight edge just a personal choice or is it something that should used to help curve the consumption of alcohol and drugs through out youth? The answer should be clear. When someone enables drugs whether it involve allowing others to feel it is okay to consume or by buying it for someone you are supporting death and disease. I cannot begin to tell you the stories upon stories of incidents where alcohol has greatly affected people’s lives for the worst. Most of these incidents were caused by “responsible” drinkers; drinkers who can “handle themselves”. Whether you believe your friends are responsible drinkers you can never be too sure. When you stop the enabling of drugs and alcohol you can be sure that you have not supported 100,000 deaths in America from alcohol alone. Straight edge is a movement to stop help influence people to quit their consumption of drugs. A personal choice isn’t helping save any lives and certainly isn’t doing anything for the cause of straight edge. Make it your choice to set example and not enable anyone to take part in what you stand against.