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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beer and Politics

I tossed up my post about Obama drinking beer yesterday with slight trepidation.  Put anyone else drinking beer on a blog and no one bothers to think of political implications.  But a politician drinking beer?  Could have a Chik-Fil-A culture war on your hands.  Apropos of this, I would like to direct your attention to this post by Lew Bryson, which I happily endorse:
When it comes down to drinking it, and the beer's good, beer isn't partisan. If you can tell if a beer's liberal or conservative just by tasting it, you're -- well, I was about to say you're better than I am, but to be honest? You're crazy.

Let's keep politics out of beer, because as I've learned in 30 years of drinking non-mainstream beer, you can't tell anything about a brewer's politics from their hopping rates. Let's leave that to the pundity types, and keep politics out of beer. Just a suggestion.
It is the nature of electoral politics to divide; hell, it's their design.  You throw competing visions out there, let people speak for them, and then let the voters decide.  It's good and healthy for democracies.  Beer, though, most ably performs the opposite function--it brings people together.  Beer does this not just figuratively--though it does that, too, in our shared passion--but literally, into pubs, festivals, and back yards.  With a pint of tasty beer in hand, you are predisposed to like the guy at the bar next to you.  You are there to make a human connection and you want to avoid discussions about topics like politics that, in the space of that connection, look petty and base.  (They're not: democracies may have their ugly side, but the alternative is worse.) 

Indeed, I'd take it a step further.  Pundits writing in the MSM often confuse two incredibly valuable social functions.  They laud bipartisan comity like it's a Platonic ideal, and direct contempt at partisans.  But we should all be partisans.  We should be high-information voters with opinions strong enough to make us active participants in our democracy.  But the other element is one of unity, the ability to look past our disagreements and see each other as good people despite our disagreements.  Politics is great for the first, beer the second.  Leave politics in the street, I say; everyone's a friend at the bar.

(Incidentally, I don't think that means we have to ignore politicians promoting beer.  We just shouldn't be partisan about it.  As Lew points out, Paul Ryan's a big fan of New Glarus beer, and God bless him for it.)

2 comments:

Alan said...

No Canadian politician dare not support the way of beer.

Anonymous said...

However if you DO want to stir up some partisan division in the world of beer just ask Greg Koch what he thinks of contract brewing.

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