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We can all get along together, if the zealots back off

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Two recent events that occurred on opposite sides of the world demonstrate that when it comes to the clash between pro- and anti-alcohol sentiments, common sense can result in compromises everyone can live with.

Over in El Dorado County, in the Sierra Foothills, they’ve been having a battle for years between wineries that stage tourist-attracting events, and resident neighbors who object to the increased noise and traffic. As I blogged here just the other day, wine tourism contributes billions of dollars to the California economy every year, and so ought to be encouraged. However, as a resident on a busy street in the inner city, I know full well the annoyance of constant noise and vehicular traffic. So the people who live near the wineries have rights, too. Read this description of a new draft agreement between the wineries and their neighbors in El Dorado. It may not have made anyone completely happy, but it’s a good compromise that lets everyone feel they got something.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Thailand, a similar drama played itself out, as the country’s Public Health Minister backed off a ridiculous proposal to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol on religious holidays and even over the New Year holiday. “[u]nrealistic” and unenforceable, thundered the bangkokpost.com. After the public outcry reached a crescendo, the minister withdrew his proposal, and the good citizens and tourists of Thailand will continue to be able to enjoy a glass of wine or beer in peace.

Both of these are instances where extremists tried but failed to impose their will on everybody else. I have a feeling the outcome will be the same here in the U.S., come Election Day.

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