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Is straight edge a personal belief or a movement?

Written by: ALEXIS NICOLE DIEDIKER   

Straight edge: a concept that has evolved and been redefined numerous times. At its core, the question remains: is it merely a personal belief or is it a movement?

Defining Straight Edge

There are diverse opinions regarding straight edge. Some view it as a personal belief, suggesting that everyone’s choices on drug and alcohol consumption are personal. Others, however, see straight edge as a movement. They believe in setting an example to inspire others to adopt a drug-free lifestyle. While it’s tempting to harken back to Ian MacKaye’s original definition, the essence of straight edge has evolved. No strict regulations define what is and isn’t straight edge, but one thing is evident – it’s more than just personal choice.

The Perception of Straight Edge Among Youth

Many young individuals identify as straight edge while being tolerant of their friends’ party habits. These individuals believe that straight edge is about personal choice. However, when asked about their commitment to straight edge, the common thread in their reasons often points to the known health risks associated with alcohol and drugs. With around 100,000 alcohol-related deaths annually, it’s baffling how some can acknowledge these dangers yet remain passive when their friends partake in these risky behaviors. This passive stance, in essence, is a form of hypocrisy.

The Wider Impact of Alcohol Consumption

Some argue that the effects of alcohol are limited only to the individual who consumes it. This notion is flawed. Alcohol has been linked to approximately 380,000 rape cases annually and 75,000 deaths from related accidents and car crashes. Every decision, whether consuming alcohol or walking sober, impacts others. So, for those who believe that alcohol only harms the consumer, they should ponder the grave consequences experienced by countless victims. Enabling drug or alcohol use indirectly endorses the tragic outcomes linked to them.

The Influence of Straight Edge on Social Perceptions

I firmly believe that no one should force their beliefs onto others. However, setting an example is crucial. When straight edge individuals attend parties and mingle with drinkers, they send mixed signals. Their presence could inadvertently suggest that drug and alcohol consumption is acceptable. An apt saying I recall is, “a straight edge kid at a party is like a black man at a KKK rally.” Enabling drug use is not what straight edge represents.

Nurturing Positive Influence

Most self-proclaimed straight edge individuals have friends who indulge in alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. It’s not about severing ties but rather continuously encouraging them to abandon these harmful habits. Share the harsh realities, the underlying reasons for being straight edge, and emphasize the life-wrecking potential of drugs and alcohol.

Conclusion: Straight Edge’s Role in Society

So, is straight edge purely a personal choice, or should it be a beacon guiding the youth away from substance abuse? The answer seems evident. When one turns a blind eye to drug consumption, they indirectly endorse the associated grim consequences. Straight edge should be a movement that influences people to renounce drug consumption. Choosing to be an exemplar and not enabling others to indulge in what you oppose is the true essence of straight edge.

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