Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: "Beer and council."

Glad to hear you’re running for city council. You should make grade-school promises of your beer filling the water fountains.
-- Evan

Prior to 2004, local politics and municipal governance were not among my preferred topics. I could have provided a six-hour lecture on European beer history with numerous examples, and still not been able to name a single New Albany elected official other than the mayor.

As of tomorrow, I’ll be running as a Democrat for an at-large seat on the city council. The primary is on May 3. With a top three finish, I’ll go through to the general election in November, when voters choose three from a field of six candidates, divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

If you live within the city limits of New Albany, kindly consider voting for me, please. One of the reasons for running at-large is that there are many more people living citywide with whom I’ve shared good times and beers in the past than in my home district alone. At least, it strikes me as a reasonable assumption.

On Thursday there’ll be a link to my last column in the New Albany Tribune, where my musings will be on hiatus until the election results are final. My other blog seems the appropriate place to comment on the daily sensation of office-seeking, and so it’s my guess that the routine here will proceed as normal. It isn’t like I can take a leave of absence from work for campaigning. I wouldn’t even if I could.

As the accompanying photo plainly shows, I'm no graphic designer, but the notion of melding left-leaning politics with Progressive Pints always has appealed to me, although there is little purpose in arguing about whether the craft beer revolution is inherently left or right. My intellectual fermentables are brewed to one set of influences. Yours might well be different.

Mayor and now Governor John Hickenlooper might actually combine the two – or not: High hopes for one of our own in Colorado, fewer for the same tired faces in New Albany.

The NABC company logo may have to be removed from the pint glass, but maybe the keg lifter can stay. As I have been reminded, a kilt lifter might be a more clever reference in my working world, but there's already a beer by that name, and I’d hate to risk campaign copyright infringement.

Do I have a chance? I think so, at least in the primary, and more so if I can order a few additional “These Machines Kill Fascists” tees so that they can be a part of the daily campaign (by bicycle) wardrobe.

Whether I advance or not, it’s worth noting that already two local ministers, one of whom is a supporter of a group called Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK), have filed to run as Republicans. They’ll be unopposed in the primary.

Why does this matter? Imagine ROCK as a sort of regional Moral Majority, leading crusades against various forms of wickedness as defined by their narrow Biblical interpretation, and trust me when I say that among the many “cultural” conditions the organization would like to “reclaim” is the halcyon era of Prohibition. It is the inexorable direction that all such extremist groups travel.

Elected or defeated, it is a personal priority to oppose ROCK's efforts. Craft beer excites me. Violations of church-state separation enrage me. Remember that.

I’ve spoken quite a lot lately about the arc of my epiphany. Steadily over a time, I’ve been drawn into re-examining almost every assumption about being in the beer business, and many, perhaps all, of these dialectics are intimately connected with a sense of place and the community in which we live and work. My business helps the community, and the community prefaces the business. All of it fits together, although I’m not always sure how. Now’s the time to keep pushing, and see where this path leads. Maybe it’s up, and maybe down. It might lead nowhere. But I’ve already been involved, and the step seems logical.

As the county clerk told me, “Why not? You go to most of the meetings anyway.”

Progressive Pints as strategy and tactics? Why not?

Take it away, Vincent.


Bob Ostrander said...

Regime Change Now

Rick500 said...

On a tangent, if we can't have NABC "Yes we can!" shirts, "Yes we bottle!" will soon be very appropriate. Random thought...