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Correcting a Mistake
We all make mistakes. Even doozies. We enter the top ten in amendment rankings with a fantastic correction to one of our country's biggest mistakes.
Have you ever made a mistake? The easy answer to this question is – of course. We all make mistakes. Do a lot of your mistakes involve alcohol? You don’t have to answer that, but I’m confident we all have had our share of mistakes after throwing a few back. It’s human nature to error. It’s divine to correct them. Or something.
America has a drinking problem. I call it a problem because we have always had an unhealthy relationship with the stuff. It began with the Framers, who drank nearly three times as much as modern Americans do today. But we still do our part even now.
Today, the market size for alcohol is almost $2 billion. We are drinking 60% more beer and 60% more wine than our parents did at our age (mid-to-late 40s) back in the 1990s. Booze is everywhere. It dominates our sports activities, it’s the center of our Christian religious beliefs, and we can’t have get-togethers without the stuff. Who can read a book without having some wine? I wouldn’t know because it appears I have stopped reading altogether.
And let’s face it. It’s Friday. You might read this when it’s posted at 7:00 a.m., or you might want to read it with a whiskey to gloss over the fact that I still desperately need an editor. Whatever the case, it’s the end of the week; let’s hit a happy hour like I will do immediately after work.
The problem got so bad in this country after the Civil War, which made everyone drink that a small minority of activists pushed to ban alcohol so far they passed a stupid amendment to the constitution.
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We kicked off this year's edition of ranking American stuff with the Eighteenth Amendment – the worst. It was a HUGE mistake.
Now, it brings us to the Twenty-First Amendment – which righted the wrong and set us on a path toward normalcy.
Grab a drink. Let’s dive in.
10: Amendment XXI
Its purpose: Repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Year proposed: 1933
Year Ratified: 1933
As a country, we righted a wrong. When the Eighteenth Amendment was passed, we found out quickly that it couldn’t control the moral code of the American soul.
While consumption decreased, many people ignored the ban and lined the pockets of smugglers, corrupt government officials, and other bad actors. This led to overburdening our police force, who had to run around and bust people for all this nonsense. It reached the point where no one respected the law, and violent crime increased.
No one tried to skirt the ban more than those sent to Washington, DC. We have speakeasies all over the place. My Instagram feed is filled with how to play better golf, dog videos, and DC historical sites, primarily about where government people snuck into to get some Canadian whiskey from the local mob boss.
Nothing. There is nothing bad about this amendment.
I will say the Ku Klux Klan was for Prohibition because they hated immigrants. Just add that to their list of awful mistakes they choose not to correct.
During Prohibition, one Michigan lady named Etta Mae Miller was arrested, tried, and convicted of selling two pints of moonshine whiskey. She was sentenced to life imprisonment. She had been caught and convicted three times before, which means we had to put her away for the sake of national security.
Etta Mae had ten children, and selling booze illegally was her side hustle to make ends meet. The jury took thirteen minutes to convict her because we had the Eighteenth Amendment on the books, so it was an easy choice. Michigan law at the time said the punishment was ten children were to be orphaned, and that may be the primary reason I dislike the Michigan Wolverines so much.
One leading Prohibition activist lamented such an outcome and declared, “Our only regret is that the woman was not sentenced to life imprisonment before her ten children were born.”
What a guy.
Who proposed it?
Pretty much everyone who wanted a drink in public. The 72nd Congress passed it.
By 1930, Prohibition was losing its popularity, and more and more Democrats were being elected on the platform of throwing out the Eighteenth Amendment. They had to overcome Republicans' political tactics who, after the 1920 census, which revealed an increase of immigrants in urban areas who couldn’t understand the idea that one couldn’t drink, just ignored it, rejecting 42 separate apportionment plans throughout the decade. They finally settled things in 1929, and then bam – the wets took over, and that was that.
In 1933, the momentum to repeal was overwhelming. It cruised to victory; even those 21 representatives who were in Congress and voted for Prohibition, all but one voted for its repeal. Thirty-eight states ratified it, South Carolina rejected it, and the rest didn’t even bring it up to vote. Alaska and Hawaii would have voted for it if they had been states at the time because you need to drink when it is cold and when it is hot.
Why did I rank it here?
You could argue that this is the best amendment because we proved we can remove bad ones. The Twenty-first Amendment is the only one that shows us the Constitution is a living, breathing, probably drinking too much - thing.
But the right to buy and consume booze can’t be higher than this. We have too many more important issues to cover over the coming weeks. But we begin the final countdown with the repeal amendment at number ten.
Agree? Disagree? I haven’t seen many comments lately – does everyone go on a bender on Thursday? Is everyone hungover on Friday?
Okay, let me know what you think of my ranking.
My little side street in Washington, DC, closes every fall for our annual block party. Now in its 52nd year, Anonymous and I have been full participants in the festivities, even to the point where one of us wanted to wait before we dove into being committee members. But the other one pushed forward right from the start. I’ll let you guess which is which.
This year, we were in charge of getting two kegs. Which means I was in charge of getting two kegs. I got a half keg of Bud Light because I’m woke and like the taste, plus a smaller keg of brown ale. The party goes on all day, so we tapped them at noon. We wrapped up around 11 or so.
Well, nobody drank the stuff. At the end of the day, we had almost the same amount. You would have thought somehow people were stuffing beer back into the keg; that’s how crazy it felt. And these two suckers sat in my back patio for almost two weeks before I finally returned them yesterday.
What a mistake that was. Never again.
Anonymous is gone again for the week, which means I will improve my golf game all weekend long again! A round of beer follows each round of golf. Perhaps many rounds. I need a break after working through all last weekend.
Make no mistake, I’ll be back on Monday with the Maundy Newsletter.
Don’t forget, if you like this content, please hit the like button at the bottom. I appreciate you all who continue to open and read my content. And for those who don’t, well, it’s a mistake.
Have a wonderful weekend. Try not to make any mistakes.