Mug Shots: The hypocrisies of drinking and voting

In 2008, Indiana’s primary election takes place on May 6, and Kentucky’s follows two Tuesdays later on May 20.

In both states, Election Day brings with it roughly 11 hours of state-mandated prohibition against the sale of demon rum, and consequently the bars can’t open until the polls close. Of course, one might drink continuously until 3:30 or 4 a.m. election morning, and then nurse a carry-out six-pack or a bottle of single-malt scotch during the comparatively brief time it takes to watch an Adam Sandler DVD before crawling off in a stupor to vote when the polls open at 6.

Presumably, this unwelcome vestige of an otherwise discredited social policy serves as a bulwark against the horrific possibility that unscrupulous politicos or their conniving agents might swap half-pints of Kessler (or a similarly valued slopping spree at the community’s on-premise watering holes) in exchange for a poor wretch’s vote.

As there exists no commensurate prohibition against the sale of strong black coffee, chocolate-covered Krispy Kremes and hickory-smoked bacon, apparently the veiled but very real threat of breakfast-induced bribery is not worthy of the same scrutiny as that posed by the insidious grape and the grain.

If you’re hopelessly intoxicated after ingesting that half-pint of Kessler, are you really any more destructive to democracy than the perfectly sober voter who is following instructions provided by a fundamentalist preacher, who in turn has promised not temporal inebriation, but a favorable reference when the time comes to take up residence in heaven?

I think not, and hope you had the foresight to visit your favorite package store on Monday night. Otherwise, remember that the taps open at 6 p.m., and to quote Groucho Marx, then there’ll be “dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons and necking in the parlor.”

Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit
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