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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Give Thanks For: Drinking Liberally

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have been asked by The Texas Blue to dig deep in my recesses and tell everyone what I am most thankful for in my political life. I am most thankful for Drinking Liberally. No, this is not just another blog about excessive alcohol consumption. It is about a socio-political organization that has helped me develop as a politically well-rounded individual.

When I moved to Texas in 2001, I had tough times to deal with. I moved out on my own for the first time in many years. I was unemployed for a time as well. Those events pushed me away from the conservative values I once thought I subscribed to. I really did not know where to turn from there, and did not want to fall head first into the Democratic Party, having just been a treacherous GOP voter. A beacon of light flashed on the horizon in 2005. I pulled open my rabble-rousing weekly issue of the Dallas Observer and what appeared was an article about a liberal group, based upon meeting at drinking establishments, called Drinking Liberally.

DL is a group originally formed in the bowels of New York City in 2003, in a hole in the wall bar. Justin Krebs and his friends wanted an outlet to discuss the woes of the state of affairs in politics with other like-minded liberals. And what better way to do that then over a few pitchers of your favorite beer. From there, the word spread of the concept, and other DL groups formed in New York City, and continually spread to other cities in the country. The phenomenon has since grown to 223 chapters, at last count, in 44 states, Washington D.C., Canada and Australia. It also has rapidly expanded into red states like a liberal virus, and is expanding into other groups such as the movie watching Screening Liberally, and book worm Reading Liberally.

The local Dallas chapter mentioned in the Dallas Observer formed in the summer of 2005. I thought it was one of the best ideas ever, so I formed my own group in the north of the city. Forming a group and leading things was totally out of character for me two years ago. I am naturally a shy person and a little introverted. But I took the plunge and posted the first meeting date on some local Yahoo groups. Snookie’s in North Dallas became my logical choice, as it was a block from my office. To my amazement, we had 7 people, of various age ranges and ethnicities, attend the 1st meeting. I kept a weekly format for a few months, and we continued to grow, and attracting local candidates for office. We had to change to a monthly format soon after due to low attendance, however we have remained steady for the last 2 years, and found a permanent home at The Quarter in Addison. We have traveled to Fort Worth for the Democratic State Convention, attracted a group of 30 people from all over the state, including the Waxahachie chapter of DL. And this past summer, we held a combined DL event with the Dallas and newly formed Mid Cities chapters, inviting founder Justin Krebs to join us after the Young Democrats National Convention came to a close in Dallas. The event attracted 100 old and young liberals.

Being a chapter leader expanded my friend base, as well as political connections. It is also what drew me into the Denton County Democratic Party. Since then I have lead party committees, attended trainings, lead trainings, and even run for political office. If not for Drinking Liberally, and drinking... liberally... I may not have done these things. I may have still been sitting here stewing in my hate of all things George W. Bush and not having an effective outlet. Groups like Drinking Liberally provide an outlet for grassroots change. Without change, we’ll stay in the same miserable situation we are in. For the idea of Drinking Liberally’s existence, I am truly thankful and continue to promote democracy…one pint at a time!

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