We really do need to improve the level of discourse...
The subject of salmon restoration is too important an issue to be muddied up with run-off thinking. I see a lot of that in threads on several boards. Too many people are willing to believe whatever is their wish without consulting facts. Too many people get drawn into this debate because of politics.
This year of presidential election seems to draw argument than most, perhaps because forums and bulletin boards and home computers are much more prevalent, giving us better access and an instantaneous means to vent.
Venting serves a purpose, but when you're trying to change minds or policy, I think it serves to do no more than inflame people.
I believe that NOW is the time to harness the energy and concern and legal opportunity to make sure that salmon runs are restored to decent numbers that will allow me to fish in home waters.
But if sports fishermen continue to bicker among themselves and continue to try to win votes (in Congress, state legislatures, or with civilians) then we've got to clean up the debate.
Facts win arguments with thinking people. Stick to the facts, not what you think are the facts. Read the documents you are commenting on before you open your mouth or log on to the computer. More importantly, think about what you've read before you speak. Be critical of what you read and see in print as well as in other media.
I also think it's important to avoid the conspiracy theories that have been floating around. Trying to make an unpopular judicial decision into some devious game plan from an administration you don't like is akin to hiding from the black helicopters or worrying that the administration you don't like is looking at the books you check out from the library because you don't like the administration.
I also believe it's important to drop the Bush bashing in a thread on salmon restoration. Why? I say that because currently there is so much Bush bashing on forums and in the media that the message you want to get across is going to get lost. If you doubt that, try to recall the last time a commercial on television had an impact on you. Besides-- do you want all people to support your idea or just those who agree with you on who should be president? I've seen backlash on other boards where fishermen reject the message and the messenger because it all starts with what a (fill in the blank) Bush or Kerry is.
My point-- it seems like I've been writing this forever-- if salmon restoration is important, it's necessary to do the homework before attempting to persuade people to believe as you do, and it's important that our arguments are both factual and civil. To do anything less is a disservice to the audience as well as to your message.