Vice President Biden tells us that his opinion of same-sex marriage has evolved toward an acceptance of it. Insofar as President Obama’s opinion can be discerned through the whirligig of spin, it too is evolving, though it seems to be at an earlier stage of the evolutionary process. His opinion has grown wings, so to speak, but it can’t yet actually fly. The president is presumably curious about what it will look like when it takes final shape (although, of course, “final shape” is not a very evolutionary concept). What will he think? And when will he think it? He must feel quite excited at times wondering about these mysteries and their eventual dénouement.
Do other people find this notion of an “evolving” opinion as fascinating as I do? This is not a simple matter of someone changing his mind. We all do that on occasion. But the very words we use tell us that we are in charge of the process and that we have ended up at some definite point. But an evolving opinion seems to be something for which the opinion-former is not really responsible. It is more or less external to him. It sits there, maybe on a table in his office, maybe hidden away in a locked room, gradually changing its shape, perhaps pulsating, or giving off “vibes,” or sending forth a blue light, or emitting little electronic signals as yet indecipherable but likely — once we have mastered the code — to inform us how and as what the opinion will finally crystallize.
Ah, there’s that erroneous “finally” again. My apologies. Evolution doesn’t stop in nature. It just keeps rolling along. So what will the president and vice president do if their opinions out there reach the stage of endorsing same-sex marriage but then, instead of stopping and resting, well, keep on evolving? Imagine that their joint opinion, relentlessly expanding Blob-like, and bursting through the walls of its cell, escapes entirely from their control and begins to take all manner of weird shapes, polygamy say, or polyandry, or marriage with inanimate objects (no crude male sexist jokes, please). It might be terribly embarrassing. What would the first lady think? What would the president say? Let me guess.
“Don’t worry, darling. It’s just my opinion talking. Nothing serious. The doctors assure me that it will stop evolving as soon as we have an election.”