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POINT COUNTERPOINT: No legitimate reason to prohibit Sunday sales

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by Jim Michalowski | Columnist

Let me start with a little history: The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified almost 80 years ago (Dec. 5, 1933), yet remnants of this epic failure (such as laws prohibiting Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages) still remain.
When the citizens of Spencer County voted in October 2009 to permit alcohol sales, it appeared that perhaps we were going to (finally) join (at least) the 20th century. As expected, there was some pretty emotional debate, especially from some wishing to continue to ban, prior to the vote. In retrospect, to a great extent both sides of the debate were wrong — there has been no economic growth while at the same time the fabric of the community has hardly been torn either.
The experience of Spencer County shows that dry counties really do nothing more but cause inconvenience and make people spend their money out of the county on a legal product that many enjoy responsibly. When the Fiscal Court issued the ordinance regarding alcohol sales in Spencer County, it defied the will of the majority of voters by not allowing Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages.
To those opposed to Sunday sales, please spare me your religious beliefs. Don’t get me wrong, I respect all faiths and believe it is everyone’s right in this country to worship in any manner they choose. Religion, however, should be a private matter. Prohibiting Sunday sales on religious grounds is frankly nothing more than imposing your religious beliefs on me.
Also spare me the anecdotal stories about how alcohol destroys lives. I do not wish to trivialize the seriousness of addiction (to anything, be it alcohol, drugs, gambling or other vices), but the fact is that the vast majority of consumers of alcoholic beverages do so in a responsible manner. Besides, an addict will find a way to obtain what he or she needs regardless of any Prohibition-type laws.
Finally, please don’t tell me about “family values.” When I hear this, the first thing I think of is “whose family?” Does that mean that if I don’t agree with your personal values that somehow I am less of a person? Sorry, but while I certainly respect your values, they are your business, not mine.
The fact is that there is not now nor has there ever been a legitimate reason to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday.
Where I grew up in New York, we had some serious “Blue Laws” in the ‘60s and even into the ‘70s. Literally nothing was open on Sunday. Fast forward to today, since every other business can operate on Sunday, why do we wish to discriminate against one type?
Just like Prohibition itself, the whole idea of no Sunday sales was a bad idea to begin with and a bad idea, no matter how many people embrace it, is still a bad idea. Let’s join the 21st century, shall we?
Contact Jim Michalowski at n2oman@aol.com.