It was first said in 1952 by a twenty-something lawmaker in Mississippi, a Millennial of his day without a Twitter, before texting was invented.
Soggy knew then what we have forgotten now. One-sided arguments achieve nothing except polarization and duginness. However, if you and I can demonstrate that we know the case for and against something, then we are more likely to be able to achieve a compromise than if I only know my position and you only know your position. It is not enough to say, “I respect your option,” rather, if I can articulate your position as well as I can mine, then I have earned your respect. Then—and only then—can progress be made on all controversial issues: gun control, the death penalty, sexual harassment, abortion, same-sex marriage, climate change, school vouchers, civil rights, human rights, health care, weed, hillbilly heroin, bourbon and other matters that keep us parted.
Here’s the template: Judge Soggy Sweat’s Whiskey Speech.
“If you mean whiskey, 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 that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pits of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.
This is my position, and as always, I refuse to be compromised on matters of principle.”