Only very rarely do I write of anything that is not related - however tenuously - to fly fishing. What follows is a bit of a stretch, but when I saw it posted on a military blog that I follow ... I just had to repost it here. I am not sure of its voracity (snopes.com has conflicting reports), but I am certain that a few of my readers will find it of worth.
Armon Sweat - or Noah Sweat depending on the account one reads - was a representative in the Mississippi House from Alcorn County, and what follows was his response when asked about his position on whiskey. Apparently, this diatribe is read on the House floor at the beginning of each legislative year.
Remember ... whether or not anyone ever spoke these words is really of little consequence. All that matters is the universality of the sentiment (substituting your own particular poison, of course).
"I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey."
"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 pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.
"But, 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 highways, hospitals, and schools, then certainly I am for it."
"This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise."