While Democrats and Republicans in Congress flail about in their search for common ground on the debt crisis, voters of all political persuasions seem to agree that legislators are mucking up the country. Approval ratings for elected officials have sunk as disgusted and outraged voters wonder how many more dunderheaded moves their representatives could possibly make.
There's good precedent for bad governance, of course. In 1919, the United States banned alcohol.
Prohibition, a five-part PBS documentary from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tackles the constitutional amendment that "turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, and caused illicit drinking to seem glamorous and fun." Burns, Novick, and Dan Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, a magisterial history of the experiment, will be in town tomorrow to promote the series.
The trio will be joined by the Seattle Times' Ryan Blethen at the Museum of History and Industry at 11:30 a.m. for a panel discussion moderated by writer Eric Liu. The discussion will take a "deeper dive" into issues raised by the film, says KCTS spokesperson Jason Pagano.
"It was an attempt to improve lives by legislation," says Pagano.
According to a release advertising the free forum, panelists will address questions including "What are the promises and pitfalls of codifying moral values into the laws of the land? To what extent can the legal enforcement of cultural values help or hinder a diverse society?"
An evening event at the Intiman Theater featuring custom cocktails and a seven-piece jazz band is sold out, Pagano says.