Commonwealth Journal

Columns

July 5, 2012

Reflections on Freedom

(Continued)

So despite all the warnings that more access to alcohol would lead to more drunk driving accidents — despite the signs bearing emotionally manipulative images of fresh-faced children and begging voters to place their safety first and foremost — voters chose something scary indeed. They chose freedom. 
They chose to allow Somerset citizens to buy beer in town, or to abstain from doing so, at their discretion. They chose to allow stores to opt to sell alcohol, or not. They chose to grant individual liberties, not restrict them.
In other words, they chose to honor the spirit of America, the spirit we proudly proclaim this Fourth of July — the spirit of increased freedom.
I owe an apology to David Weddle and Progress Somerset, because deep down, I doubted the effectiveness of their strategy. Weddle’s desire was to keep the argument on an intellectual level, to present facts and solid arguments about the benefits of alcohol sales, and let the public decide. Above all else, the aim was to keep the debate civil.
I believed that to beat a bully, one needs to be a bigger bully — and make no mistake, the “dry” side has historically been a “bully” in this debate. This year, I don’t think that was the case — the anti-alcohol contingent ran a campaign similar in tone and restraint to Progress Somerset’s — but in the past, stunts like lining the highway with wrecked cars designed to scare voters and threats to socially “out” or chastise “wet” voters have terrified people who supported alcohol sales into not speaking up. 
We saw it with our economic development agencies, all of which took a neutral stance on the alcohol issue despite it being their charge to promote jobs and the flow of money in the area. 
Yes, the agencies that should have been pushing the issue the most were staying out of it, because it was too controversial, too divisive. It’s hard to believe on the face of it, but it was true. And it’s because the mentality of fear that existed from past botched efforts to repeal prohibition in Pulaski County remained heavy on the psyche of so many in this community. Security trumps liberty yet again.

Text Only
Columns
  • mug shot.jpg Batmania arrives at Somernites Cruise

    What excellent timing. Last week, the real Batman (that would be Adam West), the real Robin (that would be Burt Ward) and the real Catwoman (that would be Julie Newmar) converged on the Comic-Con in San Diego to promote the long-awaited DVD/Blu-Ray release of the beloved Batman ABC-TV series, which ran from 1966-68.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Stanziano left behind a grand legacy

    It should be no surprise that Mark Stanziano was an Oakland Raiders fan. Back in the day, Raiders owner Al Davis always looked for the good in a football player— regardless of their sometimes less-than-sparkling reputation.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • The great Hobby Lobby debate
    It’s a common joke among those of us in the libertarian set that liberals are pro-choice when it comes to reproductive rights — and anti-choice when it comes to everything else.
    Rarely is that borne out so much than in the Hobby Lobby contraceptives case.

    July 4, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Without the past, there is no present

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Political correctness is running amok

    Once again, political correctness is running amok. This time, it’s the bureaucrats in Washington trying to force Daniel Snyder to change the name of his National Football League team.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg 20 years since the fall of a national hero

    If you were a child of the 70s, you probably were a fan of O.J. Simpson. The angular running back with smooth-as-silk moves and power to boot was the first African-American athlete who really transcended racial barriers.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg A little guidance on the safety of our teens
    If you’re the parent of a teen, there’s good news. Your child is less likely to drink and smoke these days, and less likely to fight at school. Unfortunately, they’re also likely to text behind the wheel when they reach driving age, and they’re much more immersed in video games, the Internet and their handy smartphone.
    These results were gleaned from a test of 13,000 U.S. high school students last spring. This survey has been conducted since 1991.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coal can’t be king in Kentucky forever

    “We’re going to be screwed no matter what,” a mechanic in Wooton, Ky., told me last year. We were talking about the coal industry and how it might be regulated in the future.

    June 13, 2014

  • 002 CHRIS NEW MUG.jpg Grads leave high school well-prepared for life Tonight, the current crop of seniors from my high school alma mater receive their diplomas. ‘Tis the season for graduations, and Somerset High School will be saying goodbye to the class of 2014. Next weekend, Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School will do likewise.

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug shot.jpg Grimes needs to take a firm stand on Obama Alison Lundergan Grimes is in a really tough spot. First of all, she’s squaring off against a GOP juggernaut in longtime U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall. And, secondly, she finds herself linked to the most unpopular president ever in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Instead of taking a firm stand on her feelings on President Oba

    May 22, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks