A long time ago, a lot of people liked bubble gum. It was very popular. They liked chewing bubble gum while they were with their friends or working or just taking a break. It was addictive.
The more you chewed the more you would want to chew.
They liked the bubbly taste, or the satisfaction of making a really big bubble. Everyone had their own reason, it didn’t really matter why. It was just a grand old time.
But then something happened.
A few people started saying bubble gum might not be the best thing after all. They didn’t say that it didn’t taste good or wasn’t fun; no, they actually thought it might hurt you. This got a few more people interested and they looked at the matter even more. And they agreed.
As it turned out, if someone chewed bubble gum enough times over many years something was a lot more likely to be wrong with their lips. And if their lips got sick enough, they died.
This was shocking news. Magazines and newspapers printed stories on the dangers of chewing bubble gum, journalists wrote stories describing the fate that might await people who chewed bubble gum.
Some people listened and stopped chewing or convinced their friends to stop chewing. Sales of bubble gum actually declined.
But that scared the people who made bubble gum. And that was a lot of people. There were the people who grew the stuff that made the gum bubbly, the people who made the stuff that made the bubble gum just the right shade of pink and there were also the people who actually put all the ingredients together and made the gum.
They decided something had to be done. If people didn’t buy bubble gum, how could they make their living?
So they all got together and decided to make bubble gum that wasn’t suppose to let as much of the stuff that makes the gum pink onto the chewer’s lips because apparently that’s what actually made people sick.
The people liked this and were convinced that bubble gum wasn’t dangerous anymore. People chewed as much as ever.
But the doctors weren’t convinced. This included the head
doctor of the United States himself, who a few years later released a document which said that chewing bubble gum was still as dangerous as ever and was inextricably linked to the lip disease.
This time more people listened. A few years later, Congress passed a law which required all bubble gum to have labels stating how unhealthy bubble gum was.
Over the course of many more years more laws were passed. Business couldn’t advertise bubble gum on TV. People couldn’t chew bubble gum on flights or on buses. Governments and individuals sued the people who made the bubble gum.
More and more people stopped chewing bubble gum. Bubble gum wasn’t very popular anymore.
It was discovered that being around people often while they were chewing bubble gum could be harmful. So even more laws were passed. Cities started to pass their own laws regulating when and where people could chew bubble gum.
People who still chewed bubble gum, either because they liked it or just couldn’t stop, became angry and upset. Even a few people who didn’t chew bubble gum thought the government was wrong to ban chewing bubble gum so broadly.
There was one city in particular, whose leadership decided it needed to ban the chewing of bubble gum in restaurants and other establishments after 9 p.m.
It caused quite a scuffle. Socialism! they cried. They’re taking away our rights!
Yet others brought up the myriad health risks involved in chewing bubble gum and the harm they cause.
And there was division in the city. What would they do?
Well, what would you do?
Does the fact that it’s bubble gum change your mind?
Because we aren’t really talking about bubble gum, are we?