Would Carry Nation Have Seen the Light By Now?

And you thought Prohibition ended in 1933. For most Americans, it did. But in certain pockets of the country, remnants of Prohibition can be encountered to this day.

This came to mind following two recent events: first, the airing of Ken Burns’ latest documentary on PBS, and second, the green-lighting of liquor sales on Sundays in Medicine Lodge, Kan.

If you didn’t see Burns’ “Prohibition,” keep your eyes and ears open during your local PBS station’s next pledge drive, or simply buy the five-and-a-half-hour series, which is now available on DVD. If you don’t know the full story of America’s “dry” years that weren’t really all that “dry,” you will after watching Burns’ documentary.

Meanwhile, back in Kansas, the good citizens of Medicine Lodge recently voted 157-142 to allow package liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages on all Sundays except Easter.

What’s the big deal about that, considering there still are other “dry” towns of varying degrees around the country? Well, Medicine Lodge was the home of Carry Nation, the most outspoken crusader against the sale and consumption of alcohol. It was the work of Nation and others involved in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union that led to the enactment of Prohibition.

One can only wonder whether Nation’s mindset would be different today. After all, as Burns’ documentary pointed out, Prohibition failed to eliminate Americans’ imbibing inclinations, and actually provided a platform for organized crime to flourish.

Reuters apparently was mind-melding with your intrepid reporter, because it put the Carry Nation question to Medicine Lodge Mayor Robert Stutler. His Honor pointed to how Prohibition hurt the local economy and tourism, and then opined: “Carry probably would have seen the light by now.”

Particularly if she’d ever been introduced to the wonders of a good glass of wine alongside a tender, sizzling Kansas steak.

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Tomorrow: Speaking of steak, we’ll offer some thoughts on wine pairing with that tasty dish.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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