Obama is supposedly a big fan of beer. A while back, I read about how he apparently started brewing beer at the White House. Of course, it turned out his staff actually brewed the beer, not him, but it seemed the endeavor was at least partially his doing. I had to give him some credit for that.
Today, I saw a link to this page on the White House’s website, so I clicked through. It’s a pun-ridden little blurb from Sam Kass, an assistant chef at the White House, followed by recipes for the White House beers. I’m neither an extract brewer nor a fan of honey beers, so the recipes weren’t all that interesting to me, but the blurb itself caught my attention. Specifically, this paragraph:
As far as we know the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there’s no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition…)
Am I the only one who’s bothered by the fact someone working at the White House would make light of the fact there was drinking there during prohibition? Sure, we all might know it or at least suspect it, but seeing a White House employee come out and say it when we’re in the midst of another prohibition rubs me the wrong way.
How many people died as a result of the very laws they were breaking in the White House? How many dreams were shattered? Every time I read about all the uniquely American styles of beer that were forever lost or the little local breweries dotted across the nation that went from boom to bust overnight, I can’t help but feel deep contempt for the fat cats in the White House who sipped illegal spirits with impunity.
I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Obama is supposedly pretty open about his own marijuana use, yet he certainly hasn’t done anything to suggest he wants the rest of us to get away with it. As predictable as the hypocrisy might be, it doesn’t make it any easier seeing so many lives ruined for something the president himself acknowledged doing in his youth. It doesn’t make it any easier hearing a White House employee joking about the government elite violating laws that resulted in the loss of who knows how many untold lives, gave birth to widespread organized crime and corruption, and cost our nation a fortune not just in money but in important and uniquely American cultural assets.
Maybe in another eighty years, the White House marijuana gardener will be writing jokes about Obama smoking marijuana in the White House during drug prohibition while hundreds of thousands of less fortunate citizens rotted in prisons and jails for their own nonviolent drug offenses. Hopefully we will have learned something by then. Sadly, I’m not optimistic.