By David Glenn Cox
There is something subdued about a Fourth of July without fireworks like Christmas without a tree. But there is a full moon out tonight – “Hello 911?” If alcohol isn’t the answer maybe you’re asking the wrong question. I mean, we’re celebrating America’s birthday all alone self-quarantined in Donald Trump’s America during the worst calendar year since the middle ages and you stand there with a straight face and tell me alcohol is not the answer?
Today of all days it is fully appropriate to tie one on and behave badly. Our first home grown rebellion began over the taxation of whiskey. Farmers grew corn, but one man with a wagon made transportation difficult. The smartest thing was to brew it down to whiskey. It added value and kept it safe from pests. The farmers sold to the merchant both corn and whiskey. The farmer was taxed on the whiskey. He did all the hoeing in the hot sun and grew the corn. He built the still and sat up nights watching it and tending the fire and then sold it to the merchant who sold it to the public. The only person taxed in the equation was the guy who did all the work. (sound familiar?)
How could you have a Cowboy Western picture without a saloon? Without a saloon it wouldn’t even be a town! It was prerequisite. “Alright generic bad guy in black hat, you and me is gonna have it out. Meet me in front of the First Presbyterian Church at high noon.” It just doesn’t work, the thunders gone once the alcohol is drained out. What could be more patriotic than honoring the contribution of America’s immigrants, Coors and Budweiser, Daniels and Wild Turkey and a hundred others from sea to shining sea. California wines, Kentucky Bourbon and Alabama Moonshine. America is a bar with its own flag to add legitimacy.
It is our founding tradition and founding scar in the unending war of conscience from the Puritans to prohibition to the war on drugs. Somebodies doing something I don’t approve of. For the good of society, we must create laws to stop them. Put em in Jail! For the good of society mind you, not that I would ever interfere in anyone’s life. Now see we got us this book and it’s all kinds of cryptic, but the way we interpret some of the passages we are reasonably certain that God almighty his self agrees with us. What about that law?
In Philadelphia in July of 1776, the most renowned man in the colonies was Benjamin Franklin and Ben was an older gentleman at this time who enjoyed his pint now and again. “Someone keep an eye on Ben, make sure he comes back after lunch.” How American, scientist, statesman and inventor of the three-martini lunch. Franklin gave this example to his posterity free of charge. After you’ve discovered electricity and lighting rods and invented the Franklin stove it’s all right to kick back with a few cold ones. I imagine to Franklin many of the attendees to the Continental Congress were hicks from the Styx. “If I have to listen to that Jefferson fellow prattle on again, I’ll lose my freaking mind. Innkeeper, another round!”
Abe Lincoln told that General Grant was drinking a case of whiskey a week replied, “Send a case to every general in the army.” FDR with his martini laden children’s hour and Truman drinking whiskey and playing poker with the boys. There is nothing more American than alcohol. Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry. What kind of music would we have without alcohol? Country music would be decimated it’s like the saloon you couldn’t have country music without drinking. Take the song “White Lighting” and replace those words with any beverage you can think of and the song falls apart. Hank Williams glorified getting wasted on the bayou “Fill fruit jars and pick guitars.” He’s speaking in code but you’re an American, so you understand it without explanation. He’s not talking about putting up preserves.
What could be more American? Fireworks are Chinese and you can only wave a flag so long before your arms get tired. Living on Whiskey River on the Big Rock Candy Mountain. America is like being raised in a dysfunctional family, if daddy likes you, you’ll be all right. But if you’re not one of daddies’ favorites…have a drink. Here injun, want some firewater? What other country could invent a beverage called Colt 45 Malt Liquor glorifying guns with your alcohol! “Would you like another glass of Assault Rifle before I put the box away?” Mother Cabrinni picking up the drunks off the street and putting them, “On the wagon.” Boy, was I hammered. I never did find all my clothes.
An extremely dangerous drug which causes short term euphoria and long-term self-destruction. Until recently, it was the only drug FDA approved for the treatment of being an American. Knowing that your employment is at a whim and the plant could shut down any day and move to China. Your health care covers only what the insurance company says it covers. And if they say it is not covered your widow and lawyer can fight it out in court, after they’ve put flowers on your grave. Your kids might not get into college because they lack the money or the enduring motivation to weigh themselves down with debt before jumping into the deep end of the employment pool.
Working jobs without futures or raises just to make ends meet and now the ends aren’t meeting and can’t even see each other from where they are. The world’s greatest economy working without a social safety net. A government playing dumb and looking the other way. The only fireworks I’ll watch this year is the implosion of Donald Trump…I’ll drink to that!
“A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t have the decency to thank her.” – W.C. Fields