Okay. So where have I been for the last 75 years that I’ve never heard of this?
Although not widely celebrated, Repeal Day, on December 5, commemorates the day the United States repealed the 18th amendment and gave Americans the constitutional right to consume alcohol. Thirteen years prior (January 16, 1919 to be exact) Congress enacted the Volstead Act outlawing alcohol in an effort to put an end to drunkenness, crime, mental illness, and poverty.
How, might you ask, will Prohibition put an end to these things? Around the turn of the century, groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union believed and promoted that alcohol was the cause of these social ills. Mistruths were spread, violence happened, blah, blah, blah, and bam! Prohibition. You know what happened next. America’s thirst for alcohol increased, organized crime rose up to replace formerly legal production and distribution methods, and enforcement and support for the Amendment waned. FDR ran on a platform in 1932 that included the repeal of Prohibition, and the 21st Amendment was ratified, thus repealing the 18th Amendment. Now, the law still allowed for state and local levels of Prohibition, but by 1966 there were no states banning alcohol.
Repeal Day falls at a most appropriate time of year, falling smack dab in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, thus allowing us to celebrate one of our Constitutional rights with family and friends at a time when we are together anyway. Unlike some other holidays, like St. Patrick’s, or Cinco de Mayo, Repeal Day is for all Americans, regardless of heritage, race, or ancestry. Does any other holiday celebrate our guarantee of rights?
So, how do you celebrate? Well, its pretty easy. You don’t need a costume or anything crazy like that. On December 5 you can stop in at your favorite bar or lounge and meet a few friends. You can pick up a six-pack on the way home and enjoy it with your favorite rerun. Split a bottle of wine with a loved one. Buy a shot for a stranger, just because you can.
So, repent, all ye spirits spurners. Spread the word and tell a friend.