This is the version I received in email and reprinted.
A Congressman from Big Sky country was once asked about his attitude toward whiskey. He responded thusly:
“If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I’m against it…
But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I’m for it!
This is my position, and I will neither compromise nor flip-flop!”
The source almost certainly was a speech by Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr. in 1952 in the Mississippi legislature. The man certainly had a way with words.
“You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.
“If when you say whiskey you mean 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 the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
“If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
“This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.”
This page was last updated February 1, 2007.