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Dear AP: Climate change is not a social issue

by Eric Ferguson on February 13, 2013

EarthMPR reprinted an AP article on last night’s State of the Union speech. The writer, Nedra Pickler, included this weird sentence (bolding mine), “And he continued to push in support of left-leaning social issues including gun control, immigration reform, climate change and advancing equal rights for gays.”

I won’t speculate on whether the writer innocently meant to lump together what she saw as non-economic issues, or really thinks climate change is just some lefty special interest thing. I would like to point out to her that social issues are about people, and climate change is about nature, which I would think any cub reporter could tell apart. Social issues are normally about expanding or restricting rights. Climate change is about whether the drought becomes the new normal inland while the coasts get flooded.

Equality and public safety are obviously important too, but a significant danger to the entire planet just got lumped in with other issues, suggesting the writer dismissed their individual importance. She could have just said the president included non-economic issues if a characterization was needed.

One thing the writer missed entirely was voting rights. The president introduced a 102-year-old woman who waited several hours in line to vote, like hundreds of thousands of her fellow Floridians. That makes voting rights more than just a throw-away line, as does his mention of a specific bill. That would seem to indicate the president thinks this is an issue up there with the others important enough to warrant their own section of the speech.

One tangent, how could the Republicans sit and refuse to applaud this woman’s determination to vote? Oh right, elderly black ladies voting in swing states is bad. Since the long waits aren’t enough, that proves we need a strict photo ID law.

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