MONTICELLO — Two black cats laze on the hardwoods while the gray perches in the high chair.
Cats — big and small — seldom waste steps, in essence an efficiently ruthless killing machine. If not on the prowl, they move in moderation.
Life is generally good in moderation. Excess breeds addiction.
According to historian Donald Holley, Monticello helped lead the anti-liquor movement within the state in the late 1800s, as the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union shut down the town’s saloons in 1888. The Monticello chapter of the Ku Klux Klan provided “extra-legal assistance” in Prohibition enforcement during the 1920s.
In short, Monticello faces a truly historic challenge this fall as it considers whether to go “wet.”
I know this mindset, i.e. I grew up Missionary Baptist. We didn’t drink; we didn’t dance.
But I needed money to go to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I didn’t come from a lot of money; I worked two or three jobs at a time going to school. I waited tables, barbacked and bartended my way through, earning a bachelor’s and master’s without owing anyone a dime in student loans.
Mama Macy grieved me for “slingin’ that whisky.” It paid the bills.
Does alcohol negatively affect people? To say it doesn’t would be disingenuous. But it is also disingenuous to pretend keeping sales outside the city limits will “save” the inhabitants of Drew County. Years ago when I first came through Monticello, you would drive by a “Jesus Saves … Let Him” sign just prior to getting to the liquor store.
I would encourage the good citizens of Monticello to let him save, but otherwise help the city gain sales tax revenue from bringing alcohol-serving businesses into town. Morality should not be legislated; it’s easy to make laws to target folks, but then don’t be surprised when you end up targeted.
The vast majority of adults who drink do so in moderation, which is great not only for alcohol but also for proselytizing.
Ani DiFranco plays “Which Side Are You On?” in the background.
One last drop: It’s time for a “sin” tax on soft drinks in Arkansas. For those so concerned about what I’m drinking, two can play at that game.