The Saloon, America’s Forgotten Democratic Institution


I am a big believer in having beers (not liquor) with people who can hold a different, occasionally a radically different political opinion. But only if the people involved in the conversation are able to engage respectfully even with inebriation and have the ability to extract themselves if need be for the sake of a friendly relationship or just doing the gentlemanly or gentlewomanly thing. Such a person is rare but can make for an occasional fun evening. I’ve known a few.

(From The New York Times)

Bringing back the saloon will not solve America’s problems. And there are, of course, major substance abuse concerns today. But the point of the saloon was never the lager. It was the shared institution. Today it often feels as if the only shared spaces are big-box checkout lines and fast-food parking lots. What we need, more than tweets or memes, is the kind of civic life that transpires when men and women gather face to face and, as a fan of old saloons put it, “political matters ebb and flow free as froth on the beer.”

Click here for the article.