With less than a year before the next presidential election, a political organization from down in Atlanta has a revolutionary idea for how to fix our country. Self-described as an “anti-movement,” this group of artists/poets/philosophers/etc. dubs themselves “The Cocktail Party” (cheers!). At their core, the group believes true political discourse has fallen by the wayside with our country suffering as a result. The solution? Cocktails, of course. And they provide some sound reasoning for this recommendation.
I greatly lament the loss of the traditional cocktail hour. Perhaps it was the health craze of the ’80s/’90s or the recent trend of allowing children to rule the household, but adults rarely take the time to have a drink or two before dinner to relax and engage in the art of conversation.
The Party sees this abandonment of the rejuvenating effects of cocktail hour as a great loss to our society. It requires one to take a few moments for leisure. To simply sit and enjoy the company of fellow humans. And restraint is learned with such formalized cocktail consumption as it is poor form to let one’s self get too drunk to hold a conversation.
What differentiates a cocktail hour discussion from any other is the very act of drinking. There are consistent pauses in the discourse as each speaker takes sips from their glass. However brief, these moments allow conversation to move back and forth. Patience is required. And this patience leads to listening—a key element to entertaining different points of view. In fact, they posit good conversation is the mark of a civilized person.
This is at the heart of The Cocktail Party’s philosophy: politicians need to take a step back, be patient and listen to the other side. Maybe even have a bit of a sense of humor about themselves, something cocktails can definitely help. Otherwise our leaders will continue to butt heads, making no progress.
I salute these radicals for their dedication to an American tradition that has been lost. In the face of our constant-activity culture, it is true that if we all took the time to unwind at the end of our day over good drink and dialog, the world would be a better place.