I've expressed before, my preference that options exist even if I wouldn't choose them. Some of them I even find distasteful. Let me explain, using a parable of something I find literally distasteful (though not objectionable in any way, of course): vegan food.

Los Angeles County recently got in the national news for floating a rule change obligating all restaurants leasing government land (think LAX) to serve a vegan protein based entree. This got razzed pretty hard by everyone who reported on it, and for good reason. The instinct is, essentially, I hate all the food at this restaurant, but I still want to eat here. I've speculated this councilperson had a bag lunch dropped on them from a great height and have been terrified ever since. That's setting aside the fact that vegan options are common in LA County, making this even more baffling.

Obviously, what's really happening is, they're trying to make decisions for others because of their personal taste – they think good restaurants have vegan options and their idea of good must be given the force of law. It seems extremely unnecessary and is a bad idea for a law, but it's also strange to have that impulse, and people should give this person sideways glances. Who would even want a begrudging vegan hotdog microwaved under legal obligation? You have that hard a time telling a friend or colleague you'd prefer the other place?

On the other hand, you have Piers Morgan, recently in the news throwing a fit over a local meat shop starting to offer a vegan option. Again, everyone who reported on this razzed him pretty hard. Why should he care what other customers order? And the shop isn't really any of his business, obviously. Nobody is being forced to eat there, and certainly nobody is having some vegan food jammed down their throat. Who cares?

This is the most utterly mundane thing to notice, but: the reason we all goof on these people is because we understand that an option existing doesn't harm me, and something being unappealing doesn't mean it needs to change. I'm not offended by things I don't like, and normal people (Piers Morgan is, it's important to disclaim, non-normal) don't get triggered over a vegan option or lack thereof. When you've got choices, you choose to find what you like in your own way.

I was recently reminded not everyone understands this distinction implicitly, so I thought I'd make it explicit: I've never smoked, don't want to, and I think people shouldn't start and people should endure extreme discomfort to stop, and I will judge them (some) for not doing so – those are all different than what I felt about the menthol cigarette ban. I will endorse an extremely broad array of options that I don't choose, or even like.

I think it's important to emphasize: read things I write keeping this distinction in mind. Am I endorsing something or endorsing it being an option? Or am I merely curious about why an option I'd never take is bad?

My goal is to write things that are understood – and write consistently enough that I get better at being understood. But I'd appreciate the charity it takes to read with an intent to understand. I ask this knowing that the people who would take the time likely don't need to be asked, but I ask with an open heart anyway.