Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The Rutabaga Dispensing Machine
Indulge me for a few moments.
As I walk out through the lobby of my apartment building one Wednesday morning, I catch something out of the corner of my eye. In a once-empty corner, with tasteful potted plants on either side, is a newly-installed vending machine. It’s a Rutabaga Dispensing Machine.
Now I do not eat rutabagas myself. In my formative years, my family did not grow or eat rutabagas, so they are not really in my culinary repertoire and never have been. I don’t care for the taste of them, and they give me gas. So, most likely, I will not be ironing out dollar bills to slide into the slot for rutabagas any time soon. Several other people in my building whom I consider friends DO like rutabagas however. They are vegetarians. Surely, this machine will be a boon for them and their cooking habits.
As for me, the Rutabaga Dispensing Machine is just there. It is not in my way. It is not gaudy or ugly. It does not replace the lobby’s French Fry Dispensing Machine, of which I am quite fond. And I am by no means forced to use either one.
This little story is intended to illustrate where I’ve landed on the issue of legalizing gay marriage in Maine, which I came to support in this election cycle and which was approved by a majority of voters in the state this week. For me, legalizing gay marriage is analogous to installing a Rutabaga Dispensing Machine in my apartment building. As long as I am not forced to use it and it doesn’t replace my French Fry Dispensing Machine, then I am fine with it. It just adds to the freedoms available to Americans who choose to exercise them, without taking freedoms away from anyone else.
I suppose the analogy could be extended to other freedoms we have the option to exercise in this country if we choose: the freedom to choose our leaders, to bear arms, to voice our opinions, to listen to Carpenters albums, etc. We are not required to do any of those things (most thankfully in the lattermost case), but we are not restricted from them either.
Freedom is just a part of what’s cool about this country of ours. Never take it for granted.