I Think AcManKow May Fit In Here....
Group into drinking, thinking
By PATRICK McGEE
Star-Telegram staff writer
Kathleen Thompson said she wants to promote heavy thinking and maybe a little drinking.
So the 30-year-old local organizer for the Democratic Party has helped open a local chapter of Drinking Liberally, a nationwide network of left-leaning types who gather to drink and talk politics.
"A lot of people are politically engaged, but they don't want to go to a meeting; they don't want to go through an agenda," said Thompson, of Grapevine, who is president of the Colleyville Grapevine Southlake Democratic Club.
While she spoke, small groups of people were showing up at Esparza's Tequila Factory and Grill in Bedford for the chapter's first get-together Wednesday.
They met at the Mexican restaurant's bar. After a few introductions and drinks, they got into conversations about Iraq, Texas toll roads, gas prices and healthcare costs.
Some said they came for the very reason Thompson described: They're attracted to liberal ideas and socializing, not the minutiae of structured meetings.
"I like the informal atmosphere about it," said Jon Snow, 27, of Grand Prairie. "I like more the discussion as opposed to the nitty-gritty organizing."
A growing group
Drinking Liberally started in New York City about two months after the invasion of Iraq "when it was felt as though the politicians, press and public were giving conservative cons a free pass," according to the group's Web site.
The organization now has more than 200 chapters nationwide.
"We think by the 2008 election we're going to have 435 chapters, the same as there are members of Congress. So that's one goal," said Justin Krebs, a founder and national director of Drinking Liberally. "The other goal is to make people confident and proud to use the word liberal again. Yes it's a play on words, yes it's a joke, but it's an attempt to get people to use the word liberal again."
At Esparza's in Bedford, Snow, a self-described "political junkie," sat across from Anthony Shull, 24, of Arlington, who wore a T-shirt that said "Team Marx."
Shull said he's getting more and more active in political organizing but believes socializing is an important ingredient.
"I think socializing has to be a necessary aspect of any movement," he said.
Shull and Snow said their interest in politics started with their opposition to the war.
The get-togethers can help pump new life into politics, according to Patty Dreyer, who said she has been involved in politics since the 1960s and is now treasurer of the Mid-Cities Democrats.
"This is where people get to share ideas," she said. "It helps to understand people's views."
How to join: Just show up.
Cost: None (other than your drinks).
When they meet: 6:30 p.m., the first and third Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be June 20.
Where they meet: Esparza's Tequila Factory and Grill, 3314 Harwood Road, Bedford.
What they do: Drink, socialize and talk politics. The goal is to help liberals swap ideas and make contacts.
Sources: drinkingliberally.org and Drinking Liberally local organizers