It was first said in 1952 by a twenty-something lawmaker in Mississippi, a Millennial of his day without a Twitter, before texting was invented.
Soggy knew then what we have forgotten now. One-sided arguments achieve nothing except polarization and duginness. However, if you and I can demonstrate that we know the case for and against something, then we are more likely to be able to achieve a compromise than if I only know my position and you only know your position. It is not enough to say, “I respect your option,” rather, if I can articulate your position as well as I can mine, then I have earned your respect. Then—and only then—can progress be made on all controversial issues: gun control, the death penalty, sexual harassment, abortion, same-sex marriage, climate change, school vouchers, civil rights, human rights, health care, weed, hillbilly heroin, bourbon and other matters that keep us parted.
Here’s the template: Judge Soggy Sweat’s Whiskey Speech.
“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pits of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.
However, if by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.
This is my position, and as always, I refuse to be compromised on matters of principle.
Found it: eventually a good idea makes it on a t-shirt. Now you can have a soggy Soggy tee. Here.