New organization blends beer, politics

Amber Englebert

Last Thursday a new political group met for the first time at Pizza By Stout in Joplin.

Grant Bricker, senior political science major, started a chapter of Drinking Liberally in Joplin. Drinking Liberally, who’s motto is “Promoting democracy one pint at a time,” is an informal group where people can meet, drink beer and talk politics.

“It’s basically just to get a bunch of people together and have good conversations, share ideas, debate and discuss whatever,” Bricker said. “There’s nothing else to do in this town. And a person needs certain things. They need food, water and, I believe, intelligent conversation. That, and beer. It loosens people up. A lot of people do not like to share their ideas. Some people are conservative with their mouth. Especially around here.

“People are very tight lipped. When you get a little alcohol, you get a little buzz going, it opens your mouth.”

Bricker stressed Drinking Liberally is not a student organization. Everyone is welcome to attend meetings and, in fact, Bricker has advertised Drinking Liberally around town. However, he would like to have college students attend the meetings.

“Nationally speaking, the Drinking Liberally organization is more geared toward the 20-30-year-old demographic,” Bricker said. “So I’m really going hardcore towards the college students. They are the ones who have the leisure time to sit around and talk politics.

“The college years are when people turn from children into adults. And if you’re not caring about the world during those years then you aren’t going to care about the world after those years.”

At the first meeting of Drinking Liberally, those in attendance had strong views on the state of political discussion in the United States today.

“I don’t think there’s enough honest discussion about politics,” said Carol L. Smith. “There’s a lot of division right now, and people seem to split right down the middle. They’re either black or white. Nobody wants to meet in the middle. We need more discussion.”

“What’s not to enjoy about discussing politics?” said Jerry A. Young. “Politics are very strange. Everyone has an opinion. Our whole country is based on a discussion of political beliefs. Our country was fought for and built on political beliefs, and I think it needs to be carried on and it needs to be carried on honestly.”

Though the group is liberal leaning, Bricker said conservatives are more than welcome to attend.

“Basically I want to get people with different opinions and different backgrounds to discuss politics,” Bricker said. “They make the conversation more interesting.”

The group plans to meet every second and fourth Thursday of each month at Pizza by Stout. Bricker can be contacted at 417-483-5960.