The United States has plenty of pros and cons, just like any other country. However, you can’t deny America tends to have more of each and some of them are turned all the way up to 11 on the weirdness scale. Like having the police patrol your school, writing the date in a weird way (let’s not even talk about the Imperial measurement system), and having full-on smear ads against political opponents.

Welcome to the Wonderland that is the USA. And what better way to learn about the bizarre things that Americans think are completely normal than by asking non-Americans for their opinions? That’s exactly what one Reddit user (who told Bored Panda that they wish to remain anonymous because of all the attention they're getting) did in a viral thread that got more than 50.9k upvotes and over a whopping 38.9k comments. Scroll down, have a read, check out our in-depth interview with the original poster, and upvote the weird things that happen in the US that left an impact on you, dear Pandas.

#1

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Bankruptcy because you went to the hospital

canesfan09 , David Syzdek Report

Scagsy
Community Member
4 months ago

So sad in the modern world.

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#2

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Talking about their freedom as if they're the only country in the world who has it...

zohan360 , Denise Krebs Report

mph seti
Community Member
4 months ago

We have to convince ourselves we're better constantly, because deep down, we know we aren't.

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#3

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Gratuitous violence in entertainment is normal. But show one boob and people lose their s**t.

danno49 , miramax Report

mph seti
Community Member
4 months ago

Puritans / fundamentalist Christians did this shit. Public executions = Fine. A naked body = The DEVIL! To be fair, this is something we inherited from medieval Europe...You guys just outgrew it, and we haven't yet.

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The redditor who posted the thread in the first place told us that they usually don’t hang out in the crowded default subreddits. “Either the thread gets too big for a conversation or it goes unnoticed in a sea of similar topics. In hindsight, it's not strange it got so much attention, Reddit is very diverse but a US-centric view is still dominant, and everyone wants to weigh in. Lots of people just wanted to vent, some had a strong political opinion, and some just wanted to ridicule the US.”

According to the Reddit user, they made the thread “on a whim” after they saw a comment by a redditor who was surprised to learn that not everyone has police officers at school.

“I did hope that starting this topic would end up in a couple of people sharing that kind of information among each other, because the US is going through some [crap], and it helps your morale to know that alternatives do exist.”

They continued: “Some people took it as a competition of which country is better, but it was intended without any kind of nationalist feelings, more with an idea of people defining things among themselves vs. how things are shown to be in schools and TV shows, in and outside the US.”

#4

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things When you are 18 years old, you can be shipped to a foreign country to kill humans, but you are not allowed to drink alcohol.

K_51 , Fort Rucker Report

Richard Brown
Community Member
4 months ago

I laughed when Will Smiths son wanted to celebrate his 18th birthday in the UK because he would be allowed to drink legally!

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#5

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Ambulance rides costing money seems pretty absurd to people from other countries

Meemesfourdayz , Paul Townley Report

mph seti
Community Member
4 months ago

Paying for healthcare (or internet access, IMO) is absurd. There's a reason all the smart countries socialize things. the US easily could too, if we started putting actual people before the wealthy and their profits.

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#6

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Paying people less than minimum wage. How is it a minimum if it's legal to pay less than that?

NZLion , 401(K) 2012 Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

The US always has exemptions to such laws, and the whole service industry thrives on it.

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One thing that the redditor did expect to see in the thread but was surprised to hear so many voices speaking against it was the “circumcision of infant males for non-medical, non-religious reasons but rather as a default procedure.” The redditor added: “Parents who decide against circumcising their newborn child but don't know how it works and what to teach their kid: there's a WikiHow!”

The thread shone a light on a lot of problems in the United States and suggested that these things need to change. “The things that got repeated most in the thread were division of ethnic groups, gun culture, military drafting and continuous warfare, cop culture, nutrition issues, corporate lobbying... and wearing shoes in the house,” the OP explained.

#7

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Wondering if you're sick enough to call that ambulance or if you should just risk ubering it.

Medical bankruptcy after you're charged $200,000 for a week long hospital stay and now you're homeless.

Being mentally ill and getting hospitalized by others for your own safety, but then getting a massive bill for it that you cant pay (which will totally help the suicidality right?)

Choosing between food and medicine.

Deciding that it's less expensive to just go into palliative care and die instead of fighting a disease like cancer.

As you can see I really hate the american medical care system.

greffedufois , Tomás Del Coro Report

Luisa Vasconcelos
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes, i would hate it too.

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#8

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Turning scientific information into a political discussion.

everythihghurts , U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh Report

Vorknkx
Community Member
4 months ago

When scientists talk, politicians should shut their mouths and listen, period.

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#9

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Archaic, unhelpful standard units of measurement.

JSanzi , franchise opportunities Report

Martti Laurson
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

In 1983 canadian airplane had a lucky escape when fuel was calculated in pounds not kilograms. 1 kg is 2,2 pounds. So more than half of the fuel was missing.

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“It's not as if all those comments came from non-US redditors, a lot of the criticism was from US citizens with genuine concern and investment in their future and their surroundings. Combine that with getting active and finding each other, just as widespread protests are helping to create a framework of solidarity, I think change is already happening if you just keep at it,” they said.

“I saw a lot of people from outside the US who feel racism or racist police brutality are a typical US thing. It sure looks like there's a structural issue, but please don't use the US as a way to shift blame because ‘they're worse,’ to get out of examining the same structural issues in your own locality,” the redditor added.

#10

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Putting a ton of sugar in products like bread.

TheThingsWeMake , Doug Waldron Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

It really shocks me whenever I travel back to the US just how loaded all the food is with excess sugar and salt. Bread tastes almost like cake.

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#11

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Gun ownership.

only7inches , Paul Sableman Report

mph seti
Community Member
4 months ago

Many Americans are afraid all the time. It's a horrible habit, and our media/politicians reinforce it. It stems from the fact that our country was founded on genocide and slavery, IMO. White people fear BIPOC revenge that's never going to happen, and gun companies own the right wing of the government.

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#12

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Having only two parties: Republicans and Democrats. I know there are some smaller parties, but the system is stacked against them.

level 1 K_51 , Pom' Report

Electric Ed
Community Member
4 months ago

When you think about it, this turns out to be the root cause for so many other problems. If not all of them.

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While the US thinks a lot of weird things are normal, the one that isn’t giving us any peace and quiet is that Americans write the date as mm/dd/yyyy. So, why exactly do Americans write the date by putting the month before the day?

Of course, it seems completely logical to somebody who’s grown up with this system and uses it every single day of their lives. Nothing could be more natural, in their opinion. But from an outsider’s perspective, it looks downright weird and illogical. And the US is the only country in the world that does things this way.

There are several theories about this. One of them is that in certain cases, it’s more convenient to know the month first rather than the day. For instance, when somebody asks you when your birthday is, it’s more useful to know the month first to get your bearings right before zoning in on the exact day.

#13

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Not putting the final price on the tag. I'm not sure whether it's still like this, but a few years ago one never knew whether the $1.00 item in McDonald's or Burger King is actually $1.00 or maybe $1.08.

TitanicBeta , JJBers Report

Hans
Community Member
4 months ago

It is absolutely ridiculous that not the final price tag is put on products. The European Union now rules that any taxes and mandatory fees need to be put up front. Thing like flight ticket = 30 EUR but then having to pay mandatorily for seating are ruled illegal. The opposite in the US. I have literally seen: hotel room: 200 USD/night. + mandatory resort fee, 30 USD, + mandatory service fee, 40 USD, + mandatory gratuity, 12,5% + local tax 4,1% + state tax 3,7% (number from my head). Thus, this really is a ~325 USD hotel room. No comparison possible.

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#14

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Date Order (MM/DD/YYYY)

-Sinister-Shadow , InvestmentTotal.com Report

Electric Ed
Community Member
4 months ago

YYYY-MM-DD, please. Its an international standard, unambiguous, and sorts alphabetically. And equally uncomfortable for everybody :)

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#15

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Portion sizes.

pourmewhineoh , Jerry Huddleston Report

Daniel Lewis
Community Member
4 months ago

That is my between-meal snack.

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Another theory is that American colonists inherited the monthly date format from the British Empire. In time, the British moved over to the European style where you put the day first, then the month, then the year. While Americans stuck with the old-school format.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the International Organization for Standardization claims that putting the year first, then the month, then the day is the internationally accepted way to represent the date. To make things even more confusing, the US military uses the dd/mm/yyyy format for correspondence but it switches to the mm/dd/yyyy format when corresponding with civilians. Does that sound like a lot of info to take in? You bet! And that’s just one of the weird things that Americans think are normal.

#16

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things The plot of Breaking Bad being about a science teacher getting cancer and worrying about leaving his family with massive medical debt when he dies.

FeFiFoShizzle , imbd Report

Hans
Community Member
4 months ago

The inefficency (do not mistake for ineffectivity!) of the US healthcare systrem combined with a missing social net is indeed unchallenged.

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#17

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things My maternity leave was an unpaid 6 weeks, and I had to fight them on not shorting me because I went past my due date and didn’t keep working until the day I went into labor.

robot_cupcak3 , sergio santos Report

Brittania Douglas
Community Member
4 months ago

Not to mention the hospital bill after having your baby. Like children aren't expensive enough without having to either pay for an at home doula\midwife, or a hospital birth.

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#18

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things American flags everywhere. I traveled throughout Europe and the Caribbean and I usually only saw their flag on government builds and here and there. Where as here in the USA the flag is like Franks Red Hot. We put that s**t on everything. Magnets, churches, cars, condoms, every front porch, and street lamp. #murica

Gaby , Gaby Report

MikeyG
Community Member
4 months ago

It does surprise me that the USA can be so proud of their flag and history, when their history is actually quite shameful and very short. A country less than 250 years old that seems to just ignore the native american history before that just astounds me.

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#19

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Doing the pledge of allegiance in the morning at school

flavener , John Beagle Report

Carlos Ferreira
Community Member
4 months ago

Brainwashing

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#20

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Identifying as your heritage instead of your nationality. Americans will say that they’re Italian, German, polish, etc. when they don’t speak the language and have no real connection to those countries anymore.

In other parts of the world people just identify with the country they were born in or have lived in for a significant amount of time regardless of their ancestry.

bluegreentree , IrishFireside Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

Yeah, Americans love telling everyone what nationality they think they are, and then when they hear about foreigners, they tell them to go the hell back where they came from. Go figure.

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#21

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Had some American colleagues in Norway asking us how we celebrate 4th July

kevkippers , m01229 Report

Richard Brown
Community Member
4 months ago

Happens a lot. America seems to think the world is separated into 2 parts. America and Not America, yet.

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#22

Big glasses of water WITH ICE at restaurants. I live in Texas usually and I drink ice water like 24/7. It’s a good habit here, especially in Summer. When I was in Europe I would get the smallest glasses of luke warm water that I had to ask for more every ten seconds. I felt annoying! Aren’t y’all thirsty?! Or am I missing something?

bunnysnitch Report

HelgaMaria Gehrmann
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes, we are just as thirsty as everyone else;) But why should ice-cold water (especially) help against thirst? I have never understood (so do many people) why there are tons of ice in every drink. Especially when it is hot, it is totally counterproductive to drink such ice-cold drinks. It is much healthier and more effective against thirst to drink only slightly chilled drinks (directly from the fridge or 1/2 ice cubes max. ;) However, lukewarm water is rather unusual in restaurants ... unfortunately bad luck

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#23

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Toilet cubicles, where people not only can peek, but an adult person could crawl into your cubicle, there is so much space under the "door".

TitanicBeta , Michael Coghlan Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

And the cracks between the frame and the door means you can quite easily see in the cubicle from outside.

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#24

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Willingly putting yourself massively in debt for a college degree.

I come from a place with free university education (which has its own drawbacks of course), and the fact that you can make such a huge, life-altering decision at 17 is considered normal over there, that seems downright bizarre to me.

I_hate_traveling , barnyz Report

Sabienn
Community Member
4 months ago

Sadly, in Holland this is now normal to.... If you're parents aren't super rich, you have to get a loan to be able to pay for college. College isn't as expensive in Holland as it is in the USA, though

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#25

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things The enabling customer service culture.

It’s created excessive portions in restaurants, created Karen, gives way to a disposable attitude towards products, and generally gives a sense of entitlement where most people start adding it to their list of rights.

srocan , UPC Media Relations Report

Troux
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

Yes I always felt this was a weird business model.

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#26

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things When I was there during the last election I was shocked at how phrases like ‘well they have the black vote’ or the ‘Latino vote’ came up all the time on the radio. Obviously it’s not racist but it’s just something that would never come up in my country. Like, why would latino people all vote for the same person?

Adam-West , kgroovy Report

Pamela24
Community Member
4 months ago

Not all but when you have an openly racist candidate (not trying to point fingers...Trump...) it makes sense that majority of POC would avoid voting for that person.

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#27

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Actively avoiding healthcare visits/checkups because if there's something wrong and you don't have the money to pay for treatment, then you'd rather just not know

KingAceNumber1 , Yuya Tamai Report

Hope Floats
Community Member
4 months ago

This is just sad. So many health issues could be picked up at these checks and lifes saved, yet the cost goes ahead of that.. I really hope, at some point in the future, the US adopts a health system that we have in the UK.

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#28

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things This one is more on the positive side, because I think we could learn some from it.

Talking and sharing your life with complete strangers. I have met quite a few americans so it seems the norm that you share and engage with strangers in public. The bus, train, parks etc. And then you go on your way.

In Denmark you'd be a "freak" if you did that.

WuuutWuuut , Ben Grey Report

Pixie
Community Member
4 months ago

Actual question: Why do you want to share your life with strangers on the street? I know I feel very uncomfortable if that happens to me (luckily seldom). Like, what am I to do with what you told me? I don't know you, I don't know if I like you, I don't know what you need as response...

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#29

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Asking everyone “what do you do?” when you first meet them. I live outside the US and realized there are some people I’ve known for years and I still don’t know their job. I think in the US jobs are a bigger part of a person’s identity than in some other places.

Ssffxx , Loren Kerns Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

Yeah, what job you have, implying what kind of salary you make, and people really care what kind of car you drive as well.

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#30

The one that always shocks me (I’ve an L1B so I spent quite a bit of time in the last couple of years living & working in the USA - although back home in U.K. right now) is the whole ‘thank you for your service’ military thing. The military is treated like some sort of god level being. It first struck me at Seaworld when they would make all service personnel stand up. In the U.K. the military guys (a) wouldn’t do it and (b) would be embarassed. In most cases they would be actively told not to do it so they don’t get identified - the fear the IRA stoked still runs deep in the processes in the military of the U.K.

bantamw Report

Brittania Douglas
Community Member
4 months ago

Another thing regarding military is how actively they recruit. I've never seen it in the past 17 years in the UK, but in the US soldiers go into schools to recruit, do talks, tell you how you get a career or can pay for college after military service, etc. Twice I was practically harassed in high school by recruiters because of my good grades.

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#31

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Side effects on medication adverts.

Friggin hilarious to us Brits.

With James' Hayfever meds, I can get through the day with ease!

Side effects may include:

Loss of sight

Loss of hearing

Loss of sense of smell

Coma

Headaches

Fever

Vomiting

Diarrhoea

Loss of consciousness

and death.

level 1 typicalcitrus , Jonathan Rolande Report

mph seti
Community Member
4 months ago

This is because we allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise prescription drugs directly to the people.

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#32

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things American Corporations have convinced us our work culture is totally normal.

Nesyaj0 , Jesús Corrius Report

Ami Temi
Community Member
4 months ago

The sad thing is, working more and having no employee rights, doesn't mean you have more money on the long run or that there's more productivity. Countries like Germany and Belgium have a very high productivity, but in less work hours and with better conditions. People have more time for their families, have days off and don't need to fear for their job or their lives when they're sick because of a social security system that works. I think the USA is a bit like Japan: they too, work an insane amount of hours, but one doesn't get more done in those hours. A Dutch woman wrote a book about that system and how it gives you a burn-out, for example. We certainly work just as hard as Americans, but the system is smarter and fairer. It's like with education, we pay less, but our Masters are equally as good as your American ones.

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#33

Attack ads against political opponents, ads for law firms or lawyers. These kinds of ads are illegal and considered unethical in our country. Also expecting a teenager to be out of the house by the time they're 18. I live in Southeast Asia. There's no stigma about living with one's parents. Most of the time, there will be three generations living in one house.

HollowMist11 Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
4 months ago

I am the youngest of 5 sons and it was expected that I stay at home in order to take over and care for my parents in the future.

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#34

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things not owning kettles and MICROWAVING their water for coffee/tea

gibbylewd , Chris Lawrence Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
4 months ago

Really? Do Americans not use electric Kettles?

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#35

Non-necessary, non-religious circumcision.

GoodLordChokeAnABomb Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
4 months ago

In my humble opinion that's genital mutilation.

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#36

Having second mortgages on a house. Taking massive loans they can't possibly pay off and buying stuff with it that decreases in value over time such as cars.

realultralord Report

Troux
Community Member
4 months ago

"But I absolutely need this car because my car is 5 years old so it's basically dead." This myth and competition is such a waste of money and resources.

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#37

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things Shoes inside

SpohieAuz , Architectural Digest Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

There's a lot of cultures that keep shoes on inside. Not just the US.

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#38

Extra large bottomless cups for cola or soft drinks.... you could bathe in those....

SlyDigits Report

Ami Temi
Community Member
4 months ago

Their poor teeth.

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#39

People-Share-Weird-Americans-Things being able to vote before reaching the legal drinking age

level 1 dingdongimprblywrong , hjl Report

Hans
Community Member
4 months ago

Having a voting system where you can become president without getting the majority of votes.

Falcon
Community Member
4 months ago

I thought that it was like that so populists wouldn't win, but hey... THAT WORKED FUCKUNG WELL LAST TIME. 😂

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Carlos Ferreira
Community Member
4 months ago

More like being able to vote, die for your country, considered responsible enough to own a gun and be responsible for another adult but not to drink a beer.

ARB
Community Member
4 months ago

Not being able to vote earlier because you're considered "too young" when really you're more informed and affected by the political system than your parents are.

Nubmaeme
Community Member
4 months ago

At one time, drinking and voting age was 21. During the Vietnam War, soldiers complained that they were fighting and dying for their country but were not allowed to drink or vote, so the ages were lowered to 18 for both. After Vietnam was over, the voting age stayed at 18 but the drinking age was raised back to 21.

Nia Loves Art
Community Member
4 months ago

18 year olds are legal adults and can serve in the military. That’s what matters in terms of what the voting age should be, not whether someone can drink or not.

Brittania Douglas
Community Member
4 months ago

How about being drafted and going to war before reaching the legal drinking? A stark reality for many Veterans of Vietnam.

Steve Borchard
Community Member
4 months ago

Driving sober to go vote is less likely to cause bodily harm.

Arenite
Community Member
4 months ago

Yeah, because the world needs more drunk teenagers.

katboxjanitor
Community Member
4 months ago

Voting and Soldiering - both before you can legally imbibe. Special.

Jana Boardman
Community Member
4 months ago

Well, the voting age and drinking age have changed, up and down, several times. Probably will again.

Robbie Yohn
Community Member
4 months ago

Lower the voting age to 14

lionel shipley
Community Member
4 months ago

Nobs

Bill
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

This changed because of the Vietnam war. Voting used to be 21 and drinking was 18 until the 70s

Vaida Kuodytė
Community Member
4 months ago

Young people are actually more competent; old people are racist, sexist, and vote for the same corrupt dickwads with famous faces every time.

Michael Hill
Community Member
4 months ago

Some want to give kids the vote so in gratitude, the kids will vote for them.

BeazleBug
Community Member
4 months ago

The current drinking age is a recent addition coming into play in the 1970s as a result of the republican party and our drinking only to get pissed culture.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
4 months ago

Some of us wish it were younger, like 16.

Something
Community Member
4 months ago

This is partly because the voting age was lowered to match the soldier age and partly because some people wanted to ban alcohol altogether, but that didn't work out very well.

ElusiveIntrovert
Community Member
4 months ago

You cannot decide what is good for you but you can decide what is good for the nation.

Monday
Community Member
4 months ago

Yes sir, you can vote. Yes sir, you can die for your country. No sir, you can't have a beer. .... If you're willing to let the kid into the military then give the poor bugger a beer.

Scagsy
Community Member
4 months ago

Vote for a candidate that supports drinking reforms

Tabitha L
Community Member
4 months ago

I think the voting age should be 16. Establish voting habits while young and feel invested in the direction of the country. I think moving the drinking age to 21 was stupid. Louisiana had to do it 24 years ago because the Federal govt said they would take away millions in highway funding. Louisiana is still fighting to move it back to 18.

R L
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

There aren't enough responsible adults who know anything about politics, let alone teenagers who are mostly wrapped up in themselves at that age. Voting age should be higher.

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#40

A flag in every corner of a classroom, and Americans being very patriotic to the stars and stripes. Other countries barely give a poop about their flags

Legendary-Lynx Report

Scagsy
Community Member
4 months ago

If you fly the flag in the UK you are generally looked upon as a far-rightist unless there's a football tournament on

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Note: this post originally had 73 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.