"Global warming" is turning into yet another way for the right wing in this country to stymie debate on an important subject. Whenever environmental issues are brought up, conservatives immediately turn the conversation into a debate over global warming: whether human causes for it are proven or not, evidence that denies it's a problem, Al Gore has a big house and exhales carbon dioxide - all the normal tactics one uses when one doesn't want to really talk about something.
I'm certainly not the first to realize that Red Herring Arguments are continuously employed by conservatives, and are quite difficult to A)ignore and B)refute effectively. That's what the "b-b-but Clinton!" argument is. That's the point of talking about Al Gore's jet travel or John Edward's house. They don't want to discuss the merits of the issue.
What we need to do is remember that protecting the environment is a very simple, common-sense thing to do. While global warming is rightfully a huge issue and needs to be addressed, we don't need to get sucked into endless debates about the number of scientists who deny it (and where they're getting their money) or whether every single person who is worried about global warming has reduced their personal contribution to the phenomenon to zero.
In order to help us along, then, here are some handy points to keep at hand when discussing the environment:
See how simple it is? Even a young child, such as my 5-year-old daughter, can understand this. When people try to increase corporate oversight, strengthen emissions restrictions or keep forests and wetlands closed to development, all they're doing is saying that they want to breathe clean air, drink clean water and not get poisoned by their food.
Why would anyone argue against that?
cross-posted at Ezra's place