When I was younger, I had some problems learning how to deal with alcohol. I can see now that I never should have touched the stuff until I was really established as an adult in society, with an understanding of who I am.
I can see now that alcohol can serve a sacred, mysterious purpose. One drink of alcohol can be an exercise in moderation, helping us stop the ordinary drumbeat of our mundane lives and provide a sanctuary within which we can slow down and see ourselves as we rarely remember ourselves to be. One or two drinks of alcohol, taken slowly without the intention to get drunk, can provide the opportunity for remarkable clarity.
So, it is with great wisdom that a new movement of liberals is spreading across America: Drinking Liberally. Imagine a meetup, but more reflective – as if the people at the meetup were just sitting and chatting on the back porch with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Politics, yes, but without all the hierarchies of who’s in charge and gets all the credit.
Drinking Liberally is the kind of think tank that liberal America really needs. Let the Republicans have their think tanks in corporate board rooms with filtered air. Liberals can now join into a system of grassroots think tanks held in the place where ordinary working Americans have met and talked for generations – the neighborhood bar.
The idea is just to get the liberals in a community together to talk over a drink or two. It gives us the permission to talk about politics in a friendly environment, without pressure and without tension. And if the group decides to do something to deal with what they’re talking about in a practical way, that’s okay, but the main thing is to keep the process human.
Visit the Drinking Liberally web site and you’ll see that there are something like 100 different Drinking Liberally groups meeting around the country every week. Check it out, because there may well be a Drinking Liberally group near you. No, really, you might be surprised at where these groups are. There are more of them happening in Missouri than Massachusetts, for example.
Personally, I’m surprised that there is not yet a Drinking Liberally group anywhere in Tompkins County, New York State. Tompkins County has an awful lot of people with a liberal mindset, and it’s in the heart of the Finger Lakes, a region with a huge number of wineries.
So I’ll take this opportunity to make an official invitation to any readers we have from the Ithaca area. If anyone is interested in starting up a Drinking Liberally event in Ithaca, or maybe at the Rongovian Embassy to the USA in Trumansburg, or even perhaps at a winery, leave a comment here with your email in the proper place, and I’ll get in touch with you to get things going.
I’d also love to hear from anyone who has taken part in a Drinking Liberally session, to see how it went for them.