Friday, December 5, 2008

Repeal Day!

It now seems inescapable that this blog has perished. We bid thee, dear blog, a fond farewell. But today is not a day of mourning, for there are a great deal of wonderful cocktail blogs around. No, this is a day of celebration. In fact, I intentionally chose this day to say goodbye to drink-well. You see, today is Repeal Day. That's right. Exactly 75 years ago today, the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah, completing the ratification process, thus ending The Ignoble Experiment, Prohibition.

We cocktailians look back on Prohibition with somewhat mixed feelings. Granted, it gave a strong foothold for organized crime in America, converted Christianity into Moral Deism, nearly ruined California wine for the following several decades, killed countless home distillers and bathtub gin drinkers, and of course, it even tried to take our booze away. But on the other hand, it failed to rid us of our drinking, gave us some interesting history to relive through the modern speakeasy, and it forced the creation of a great deal of mixed drinks. When your gin is made in your next door neighbor's basement, you're probably going to want something to alter the taste a bit.

Anyway, long story short, God took something evil and used it for at least some good, but we're still very glad to have the right to plead the 21st. So raise a glass tonight in honor of that precious Amendment, and perhaps even ponder if it goes far enough. Consider the following, admittedly grabbed from Wikipedia:

The Twenty-first Amendment is also one of only two provisions of the Constitution to prohibit private conduct; the other is the Thirteenth Amendment. As Laurence Tribe points out: "there are two ways, and only two ways, in which an ordinary private citizen ... can violate the United States Constitution. One is to enslave someone, a suitably hellish act. The other is to bring a bottle of beer, wine, or bourbon into a State in violation of its beverage control laws—an act that might have been thought juvenile, and perhaps even lawless, but unconstitutional?"

And this doesn't even address the current Prohibition still severely limiting Alcohol production and consumption such as (insert your favorite three or four modern forms of Alcohol prohibition here). Laws like these, public drinking laws as one group of examples, continue to criminalize drinking, and thereby also further our negative cultural perspective on alcohol. Still, the more obvious current Prohibition comes in something oh-so-creatively named "The War on Drugs," as though it's an enemy to be fought. This, as with all prohibitions, merely furthers organized (and unorganized) crime in this country as well as... Okay, sorry for all the politicizing. You get my point.

Anyway, be sure to find a good Repeal Day party tonight to honor those who fought for your booze. Several bars are holding such parties. And if you can't find one or make it out tonight, hold a celebration of your own. So long and drink well.