The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to not hear several appeals on the question of same-sex marriage has changed the U.S. map once again. Sixty percent of our people live (or soon will) in states that allow it. Today’s FaceBook® feed includes an article about one religious group that invested more than $40 million trying to pass Prop 8 in California, only to have it overturned by the U.S. Circuit Court and now rebuffed by SCOTUS. The group has issued a terse statement on co-existence, but pardon me for not buying into it. Suffice to say that the map of the United States grows ever more complicated and contradictory. And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
This folderol puts me in mind of our battle nearly a century ago with Demon Rum: that issue was corralled by an amendment to the Constitution and then another to undo the first. You’d think we’d have learned how unsuccessful—not to say expensive—it is to legislate morality. Waste of paper and ink, if you ask me.
Funny thing: on the question WWJD in each of these situations, I have my suspicions.
A postcard of the Schlitz Palm Court in Milwaukee entices me to look into Iowa’s history of dealing with alcohol and its regulation, about which I know very little at present. The demographics of the state are heavy with Germans in the northeast, roundabout Dubuque, for example, where Pickett’s brewed one of America’s finest beers before shutting down some years ago. Like the ill-fated Coors, Pickett’s refused to pasteurize and in so doing limited their market area. Its shelf life and, therefore, its distribution network were seriously affected by that decision to make a beer that actually had flavor, but not sell it more than 100 miles from Dubuque. TASTE or TRANSPORT, take your pick.
I have always presumed that beer, at least, was readily accessible in Agincourt until the interruption of Prohibition; that places for its civil and therapeutic consumption were open and aboveboard. I also know that a town of Agincourt’s size would not have afforded anything so grand as the Palm Garden. But this image speaks volumes (or do I mean gallons?) for the social atmospherics of pre-WWI America. How have we gone so wrong?
There was a beer garden beside Adams’ Restaurant, a narrow landscaped slot between it and a bar facing Broad Street around the corner. Perhaps it’s time for that beverage emporium to have a name and identity at long last.