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How whisky became part of our political conversation - Dunwoody Crier: Our Columnists

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Farmer File How whisky became part of our political conversation

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Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 10:02 am, Tue Jun 5, 2012.

A friend in Florida once bought a home on an island named for a colorful old fishing captain named John F. Horr. The street address was on Whisky Creek Drive.

“I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to live on Whisky Creek Drive on Horr’s Island,” our friend said. 

My curiosity turned up several other streets named Whisky, including ones in Ft. Myers, Fla., and another in Eagle County Col.  The name whisky also is found on a snootful of bars, taverns and saloons around the country, including a couple in Atlanta, which spell their names “Whiskey” with an e.

I was reminded of the old political term, “If by whisky...” used to describe an equivocating candidate who can say a lot of twaddle while sounding profound.  

The originator reportedly was a legislator in Mississippi, Noah “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., in a 1952 speech about whether that state should continue to prohibit alcoholic beverages.

Does this politician’s speech of yore sound like any of the current crop of candidates for office this election season?

“I am reminded of the other day when a friend was discussing how he felt about whisky.  He had not intended to discuss it, but was caught in a bind and wanted his colleagues to know he did not shun a controversy.

“On the contrary, he told them, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy the issue may be. You’ve asked how I feel about whisky.

“If when you say whisky you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yes literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children.  

“If you mean the evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation and despair, shame, helplessness and hopelessness, then certainly, I am against it with all my power.

“But if when you say whisky, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christian cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty morning; if you mean the drink that enables an man to magnify his joy and his happiness and to forget if only for a little while life’s great heartbreaks and sorrows. 

“If you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars which are used to provide tender care for our little children, our blind, our deaf, our aged and infirm, to build highways, hospitals and schools, then certainly I am in favor of it.  And this my stand. I will not compromise.”

What’s that you say President Obama?  Did we hear you correctly Gov. Romney? 

Doesn’t this also reek of former President Bill Clinton’s comment that he tried marijuana but didn’t inhale? Or Newt Gingrich saying he was a historian, not a lobbyist, at Freddie Mac?

Maybe a taste of another whisky quote would help,  from W.C. Fields:  

”Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”


© 2015 Dunwoody Crier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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