The recent announcement that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio supports same-sex marriage now that his son has come out as gay shows something quite interesting about politics: It is very easy to be against something when it is political, not personal.

The same principle is relevant in a variety of places. I wonder how many legislators who hate government-sponsored health care have ever really faced the horror of being without. Several years ago, a layoff at the height of the recession showed me just how important a government safety net can be.

Ironically, people like U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan who advocate a dismantling of health care programs have lived a life of insurance privilege.

I wonder if Ryan might follow Mr. Portman’s footsteps and change his views if he were to truly look at a future reality where he was one of the millions who would have to go without care in his budget. Just asking.

Michael Emerson, Eden Prairie