The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly
Ever since the election some die-hard supporters of Hillary Clinton have been predicting that the sky will fall in Washington, DC on January 20th, when Donald Trump is inaugurated as president. I’m sad to report that sky has already fallen in Washington. At least part of it has. I’m referring to the portion of the sky directly over the northeast corner of 35th and M Streets in Georgetown. As some alert readers (ARs) may recall, that was the site of Dixie Liquor, a venerable institution in our nation’s capital. This distinguished emporium served the needs of thirsty Georgetown students and other Washingtonians from 1934, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, until it closed its doors in the summer of 2016. These same ARs may remember my writing in this space that one of the highest honors I have ever received was having a Schlafly neon displayed in the window of Dixie Liquor. Unfortunately, those days are now gone with the wind.
As the Obama administration comes to an end, it’s worth noting one of its distinctions that most pundits have overlooked. Barack Obama is the only lawyer elected to presidency since World War II who was not forced to give up his license to practice law because of misconduct. You read that correctly. Every other lawyer who was elected president in the post-war era did something so heinous that his law license was taken away. Richard Nixon was disbarred the state of New York, and Bill Clinton’s license was suspended by the state of Arkansas. What about Gerald Ford? I’m sure there are lots of ARs who would point out, quite correctly, that his license to practice law was never suspended or revoked. But—as these same ARs undoubtedly realize— Ford was never elected to the office of president or vice president.
Donald Trump, who is not a lawyer, is succeeding a lawyer (Barack Obama) as president and defeated another lawyer (Hillary Clinton) in the election for that office. Here in Missouri, Eric Greitens, who is also not a lawyer, is also succeeding a lawyer (Jay Nixon) as governor of the state and also defeated another lawyer (Chris Koster) in the election for that office. Coincidentally, one of the first duties of President-elect Trump and Governor-elect Greitens will be appointing lawyers to fill vacancies on the supreme courts of their respective jurisdictions.
In Trump’s case he will be appointing a successor to Antonin Scalia, who died in February of 2016. Although I never met Justice Scalia, we had something in common. Both of us graduated from Georgetown University, he in 1957, I in 1970. I have no idea whether we took classes from any of the same professors or lived in the same residence halls. Either is entirely possible. I can say with absolute certainty, however, that we both patronized Dixie Liquor. I know that I did and I can’t imagine that he didn’t.
Greitens will be appointing a successor to Richard Teitelman, who died in November of 2016. I had the privilege of knowing Rick (an appellation he much preferred to the more formal Judge Teitelman) for over 35 years. We served together on the board of directors of the St. Louis Public Library, where he was responsible for naming the Schlafly Branch in the Central West End after my parents in 1997. Nineteen years later I may have taught Rick the last hour of formal legal instruction he ever received.
I am not making this up. On November 3, 2016 I taught a program for the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis titled “The Schlafly Story: How craft beer came to Missouri.” Rick was among the lawyers in attendance who received one hour of continuing legal education credit. He died 26 days later. It would be the height of irony if a titan of jurisprudence like Rick Teitelman topped off his legal education by hearing me talk about beer.
Along with naming a successor to Justice Scalia one of the highest stated priorities of the Trump administration is restoring American jobs. I couldn’t agree more. President Trump should set an example by publicly supporting American-owned breweries. Most of the beer consumed in the United States is produced in breweries owned by foreign conglomerates. If Trump is serious about reviving American manufacturing, why not support the American breweries that haven’t sold out? He doesn’t need to jawbone and threaten us not to leave the country. All he needs to do is support us now, so we aren’t tempted to leave.
One way to start would be to serve only American beer at his inaugural balls. He doesn’t even have to wait until he’s sworn in. There are now over 5,000 breweries in the United States. For a president who portrays himself as a champion of American industry and American workers it would set the tone for the next four (or eight years) if he were to support these breweries and not spend his money with breweries that would deposit it in overseas bank accounts. After he’s in office he should continue to lead by example and only serve American beer in the Trump White House. Again, with over 5,000 American breweries, he can easily find what he needs at home without putting money in foreign banks.
While he’s at it, perhaps President Trump can get Dixie Liquor to reopen. Then he could buy Schlafly for all the White House receptions and state dinners there.