Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Prohibition 2004

I started thinking today about who else is running for president this year, because I haven’t heard anything about anyone besides Bush, Kerry, and Nader. I saw a little piece on CNN the other day about Earl Dodge, the candidate for the Prohibition party. (Oh what fun that would be. I’d be drinking bootleg Coors Light.) Needless to say, I was taken a little off guard, not realizing that prohibition was still a pressing issue to some people. Having never heard of this guy, I thought, ‘hmm. Who else haven’ I heard of?’ Well, apparently a lot of people. It seems like any regular Joe can get their name on the ballot, even though some, like Earl Dodge, will only be on the ballot in their home state (his is Colorado, home of my beer that he would make illegal). So I started a little bit of research on his party and here’s what I came up with.

The Moral Issues of the Prohibition Party:
For Right to Life
Against Commercial Gambling
Against the Homosexual Agenda
Against Commercial Pornography
For the Right to Prayer and Bible Reading in the Public Schools
Against Commercial Sale of Alcohol and Other Harmful Drugs

Hmm. This makes me wonder what exactly the homosexual agenda is. On that issue alone I say even if I could vote for this guy, or if he was in John Kerry’s position in the polls, I’d rather have Bush. What? No. It’s a little scary to think about. But seriously. Gambling? Commercial pornography? Come on, really? These are pressing issues? Hey, remember organized crime? They’d have a field day with these things. It worked in the 20’s, right?

Which brings me to –woo hoo!- E-Lo’s history lesson for the day!

In case you think that Prohibition is just a story you were told as a young child to give you nightmares, I’m here to tell you; No, sir! It was real! Drinking was once as illegal as parading down the street buck naked. It’s a scary prospect, I know. Think about how fun your social life would be if you couldn’t go drinking with your friends on the weekends. Ok, well, I know mine would be less fun. But that’s because I’m an immoral alcohol consumer. Glug, glug. But I digress. The whole idea behind this wacky prohibition thing was to reduce crime, corruption, solve social problems (because people drank so much), reduce the tax burden created by prisons (people who got drunk and caused silly drunken problems), and improve health and hygiene in America. Why hygiene? I can’t tell ya. Probably because of the rapid increase of urban areas and industrialization. But maybe one of my history scholar friends can add some comments on that one. Of course, keep in mind that before Prohibition, most saloons also offered legal gambling and prostitution.

History tells us that Prohibition was a miserable failure. Sure, alcohol consumption went down at the beginning of the whole crazy scheme, but law officials really couldn’t make the government do all it could to enforce it. Plus prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue, and increased government spending just to hire the people needed to enforce it, like customs agents and Coast Guard personnel. Corruption was rampant, everyone from major politicians to cops were taking bribes from bootleggers. Not to mention the fact that many of the drinkers switched to narcotics. Organized crime was running amok with speakeasies, gambling, and prostitution, which were all big boons for guys like Al Capone. The rates of violent crimes went up. Prisons began to be filled to the brim, which was the opposite of what they thought would happen. So, to make a long story short, Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, and then government decided, ‘hey, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all!’ So it was repealed, and we all lived happily ever after. With beer. As Ben Franklin once said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And who’s going to argue with Ben Franklin?

Ok, so now I will ask: WHY is there a Prohibition Party? Do they really want to go there again? Look at the facts, jack. It didn’t work. Things went downhill very quickly. Don’t you think it would happen the same way these days, only tenfold? Hello! Illegal drugs are still around. Illegal alcohol would be too. Crime is terrible. It would get way worse. I just don’t get how this is a good idea! Plus the fact that there are more pressing social issues to deal with at the moment, other than the oh so evil porn industry. Sorry, I’m generalizing. Don’t yell at me or call me a brain dead whiner, please. But their issues are pretty general. Like "balanced federal budget.’ What party doesn’t want that one? I know somebody out there has a smart-alecky answer to that… Ahh, Prohibition. The oldest third party in the United States.

This rant is officially over. Go about your business. Nothing to see here.

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