Today Danville, KY, is voting on whether go from "moist" to "wet."
UPDATE: Danville went wet, 57% to 43% in heavier-than-expected turnout (2,508 to 1,911).
For those outside the South this whole concept may be odd. When we moved to Danville twenty years ago it was dry, meaning that selling and serving alcohol was illegal. A few years ago we voted to go "moist." Restaurants that seat at least 100 and get at least 70% of their revenue from food were allowed to sell alcohol by the drink. What all this means is no bars, no liquor stores, no downtown cafes selling a glass of wine. This kind of minute regulation of alcohol distribution is fairly common in all the Baptist-majority counties of the South. I can tell you, though, it is a very difficult concept to explain to, for example, a traveling group of Irish actors or Russian musicians, as has happened at Centre.
Today we are voting on whether to go "wet." This would allow liquor stores, beer and wine sales in other stores, smaller restaurants and cafes, even bars. No town in Kentucky has gone from moist to wet before, and I really do not know how the election will turn out.
I have been torn about how to vote. I am a teetotaler, so I my own consumption is not the issue for me. But I do care about the health and well-being of my neighbors, and the economic health of the town. I also do not want to see bars in Danville. I think they are a danger anywhere, but are a menace in a small college town.
Nonetheless, in the end I voted yes.
What does this have to do with centrism? I believe that alcohol is an irreducible part of human society. I don't care for it myself, but I know that others enjoy it. I think alcohol in moderation is OK. Jesus made wine - it can't be all bad.
Instead, I believe that we should actively and persistently promote, teach, and model moderation in alcohol consumption. This is especially important for adults teaching young adults, such as the hundreds of college students in our charge. I have long favored drinking licenses for 18, 19, and 20 year olds. I think the adults of the community should teach the young how to drink moderately. Drinking is not the menace; drunkenness is.