LP Monday Message: Sunday Beer

August 9, 2010

Dear Friend of Liberty,

It’s been just over a year since I moved to Washington, D.C. to work at the Libertarian Party Headquarters as Executive Director. What a change from Texas.

In addition to being much closer to the federal government and its constant flow of bad policies with worldwide repercussions, the local District of Columbia government provides constant reminders that our liberty is jeopardized in small ways as well.

Take, for example, a Sunday beer.

I’m not advocating that people drink beer. I’m just saying that one Sunday about a year ago I wanted to buy a beer after an afternoon in the office, and I ran into lots of barriers.

For those who don’t know, the LP headquarters has been located in the (infamous) Watergate complex since 1995.

The Safeway grocery store at the Watergate doesn’t sell beer no matter what day of the week. I’m guessing there’s a law against it. There is a liquor store next door, but it’s closed on Sunday (I’m guessing because of another law). The convenience store near where I live sells beer six days a week, but not on Sunday. I had figured that out the week before.

I was especially surprised to find out that the Exxon station doesn’t sell beer any day of the week. What good is a gas station that doesn’t sell beer? Same with the nearby 7-Eleven. I knew I wasn’t in Texas anymore!

I was warned that D.C. had statist tendencies and that Virginia was a little more freedom friendly. Having spent two weeks in a cheap Virginia motel before finding an apartment in D.C., I knew of a place where I could buy a beer on Sunday.

So, I got in my truck and headed for Virginia.

I started my journey near the office at 2600 Virginia Avenue:

  • took 23rd Street right past the State Department (wonder if Hillary Clinton was in there)
  • crossed Constitution Avenue (maybe they should rename it “Statist Avenue”)
  • turned right at the Lincoln Memorial
  • crossed over to Virginia on the Arlington Memorial Bridge, into the Arlington National cemetery (where many Americans who lost their lives fighting for freedom are buried)
  • looped around and passed by the Pentagon (you’d expect that to be in the nation’s capital, but it’s actually in Virginia)
  • and proceeded to the nearest place I knew of where I could buy a beer on Sunday (a shop next to the Americana Hotel where I stayed for two weeks).

I’m not making this route up. Here’s the map.

Buying a beer on Sunday may seem like a trivial freedom, but it’s another example of a freedom many of us don’t have. Meanwhile, we’re getting literally nickel-and-dimed with more and more taxes and regulations, like D.C.’s new nickel tax on grocery bags.

I’ve since learned there are some stores in D.C. where you can buy beer on Sundays, but I see no rhyme or reason to the system, and certainly no convenience.

I’ve also learned that Virginia has its own set of quirky laws. See this amusing video which includes some of the Founding Fathers.

I’m somewhat pleased to hear that D.C. passed a medical marijuana provision recently. I’m not an advocate of drug use, but I am an advocate for freedom. I guess to have the freedom to smoke marijuana you either have to be sick, or credibly pretend you’re sick.

I’m sick and tired of the rules and regulations and gimmicks.

Anybody else out there ready for a double shot of freedom?


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

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