Sunday, March 2, 2008

Trivia: N. S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr. "Whiskey Speech"


This is probably the foremost account of a politician getting his way with both sides of an issue. The speech is still mentioned these days in conversations concerning the issue of "waffling".

This is the famous "Whiskey Speech" then-Rep. N.S. "Soggy" Sweat Jr. delivered on April 4, 1952, at a banquet while the prohibition issue was before the Mississippi Legislature.

"My friends,

"I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.

"If when you say whiskey you mean 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 the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

"But;

"If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

"This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise."



Sweat, 73, died at a Corinth nursing home on Friday Feb 23, 1996. His professional and political career included stints as a legislator, district attorney, circuit court judge and college professor.

6 comments:

  1. i wanted to find this several years ago and couldnt, Soggy was my mother's cousin and a lot of the family talked about that speech.

    when John Kerry was campaigning and saying he voted for something before he didnt vote for it (waffling), that was dug up and was all over the web. Good article.

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    1. Bill, Soggy was my uncle. I am working on our family tree. Can you specify how you are connected to him? I would like to add you to our tree. Thanks. Don Blanchard, Jr.

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  2. I'll drink to that. Great job on the blog, Carl.

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  3. Typical politico jabber! I heard that he was a tee-totaler, too. Lived a long time somehow, anyway.

    Good content, so far. keep it up!

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  4. ralph hopson (hoppy)March 4, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    He spent some time in the Johnson Hospice with my grandparents in the early 90's. We talked with him some, and he seemed very sharp on the issues of the time.
    The Waco Davidian (Koresh)incident was happening then, and he expounded on it very well. Won't say here what he thought of it!

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