We are doomed.
We are consumed by all things alcohol — buying it, drinking it, selling it, promoting it, advertising it, banking on it. This former company town, founded long ago on the idea of high morals and hard work and Christian living, is destined to be overrun by drunk drivers and alcohol-fueled crimes and all sorts of un-Christian, immoral activities. It is the drunkard’s version of the zombie apocalypse, uncontrolled masses of wild-eyed, disheveled boozers trampling through the streets.
We all will become a modern-day Otis Campbell, unshaven, happily snockered on Noble Street.
We will go straight from church to the bar.
Our champagne brunches will get out of hand.
We will rue the day that the City Council legalized Sunday sales.
Shame on those who voted for it.
Shame, shame, shame.
Critics are telling us these things — and more — as Anniston prepares for its first legal Sunday. There are two kinds of those critics, and I sincerely hope you see them for what they are. One kind, the true evangelicals who disapprove of drinking on the Lord’s day, have a legitimate point. Listen to them. The other kind — haters who spout all sorts of Sodom and Gomorrah-like claims, many of whom, I suspect, don’t live in Anniston — are simply that, haters.
All talk, all blather.
Evangelicals shouldn’t be rudely discounted when it comes to the protection of Sunday’s biblical traditions. Disagree if you wish, but be kind. We can get into all sorts of deeply theological discussions about the downfall of mankind, but that has all the appeal of ripe Spam. Suffice it to say that those who honestly feel alcohol should remain Sunday’s forbidden fruit will never compromise with those who see Sunday sales as a progressive, pro-business move, which it undoubtedly is.
Speak the truth: Business-wise, Anniston needs boosts. And adhering to a century-old remnant of Southern blue laws was a hindrance, not help. It’s not the City Council’s job to save our souls from the dangers of legalized drink; the council’s job is, in essence, to save the city from stagnation and decay.
Opening it up to a mainstream, perfectly acceptable, legal activity is wise. Should have happened long ago.
As for those haters, let’s just say they’re good for a few laughs.
As one of them posted on The Star’s website, “It’s time for random stops in Anniston (for DUI tests) because they’ve got to fill up that new jail somehow.”
And another, “I think I will just stay in Oxford on Sundays and not increase my chance of meeting an impaired driver.”
And another, “Anniston can’t get any businesses in the area, so our claim to fame is that the residents can buy liquor every day of the week. That is why Leon Smith and Oxford is (sic) killing Anniston.”
Oxford is killing Anniston because Mayor Smith’s town abides by the archaic no-drinking-on-Sunday rule? Slay me, please.
Shame on anyone — anyone — who turns the seriousness of alcohol use into a detail best ignored. But by legalizing Sunday sales, Anniston hasn’t agreed to turn a blind eye to drunk driving on the Lord’s day. If you believe that, how does that logic jive with legal sales and DUIs the other six days of the week?
What’s the option, then? Total prohibition?
This boils down to two simple concepts: personal responsibility and business development. It’s not about morals. It’s not about the downfall of the city’s Christian community. It’s not as if Anniston has legalized gay marriage or medical marijuana. (As if; this is Alabama.)
The Anniston City Council did what needed to be done. Civic dinosaurs face extinction, too.
Now it’s up to those who decide to take advantage of the city’s Sunday sales to not foul it up by weaving down Quintard Avenue or turning into the Bravest Man in Town when some dude bumps into you at the bar.
If that’s your thing, I assume Anniston’s finest can find a spot for you in that swanky new jail.
As for the rest of us, there’s no need to panic. We aren’t doomed. Anniston isn’t becoming one gigantic pub crawl. It’s just joining the 21st century. Finally.
Phillip Tutor — firstname.lastname@example.org — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star