Stakes are high. Tempers flare. People disagree about many things. And to defend the vulnerable and protect our world, we need to speak out. But there is a wrong way to do it–to attack the person making the argument rather than the argument itself, an ad hominem attack.
It isn’t really about whether a particular person is stupid, for example; it’s about what will best help us make progress forward. So let’s say you are able to establish conclusively with all sorts of arguments, research and data that the person you’re talking to is an ill-informed idiot. Has that moved us forward as a united people? What if instead, you were able to convince that person of a need to join together for the common good, focusing on shared values, common ground, and individual power? That just might help us all.
Focus on the issues. Fight fair.