Out of Left Field: Long Islanders march for science, survival

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Out of Left Field: Long Islanders march for science, survival

There was a warm camaraderie among the hundreds of Long Islanders who boarded the LIRR for ‘The March for Science.”

I felt bolstered by the scores of Hofstra students, staff and faculty.

The warmth of friendship we shared contrasted sharply with our concerns about the overheating of our globe.

One 9 year-old carried a hand-made sign that said: “THERE IS NO PLANET B!”

One could have spent the entire Manhattan day along Broadway inspired by the signs alone (90 percent of them home-made — so much for the fake news that citizens are taking to the streets as pawns of paid extremists).

Any person who observed this citizens’ march would be impressed by the age and ethnic diversities.

There were folks with canes, crutches, wheelchairs and walkers.

There were very young children and infants in strollers, carriages and on the backs of their parents.

“HEAL THE WORLD” was a sign by a junior high school girl.

A group of teenagers carried signs that read: “BOOKS NOT BOMBS!” and, every so often, they had rousing chants using those words.

It rained during part of our demonstration, but nothing dampened our spirit.

When we processed down Broadway and reached Columbus Circle, hundreds of folks lined our route, cheering and waving signs of their own.

In my fantasy, there was a feeling of being a marathon runner in “The City of the World” — although in striving for changes of policies, values and conduct we moved from the personal to the social with objectives of the utmost consequence for all, not just the marchers.

For this special occasion, I donned my red, short-sleeve, pull-over sweater.

It always reminds me of the customary garb of the great social critic, Studs Terkel (his photo adorns my wall of heroes).

Every time I wear that sweater I think of that May date in 1982 when I was walking north on the Hofstra Unispan.

Coming the other way was Max Zaretsky, a leader in the Hofstra P.E.I.R. program for elders.

He was wearing a “Terkel” red sweater.

“Max,” said I, “wish I had a Studs Terkel sweater like that to wear to the June 12 protest in Central Park against nuclear dangers.”

He immediately took off his sweater, and handing it to me, said: “Wear on June 12 and to all your future citizens’ protests.”

I am striving to keep the spirit of Max and Terkel.

It was my pleasure to chat with many people in the March, and to be inspired by the depth of their knowledge and the scope of their empathy for others.

To be sure there were a number of partisan signs deeply critical of the 45th President.

How could there not be?

“TO ABANDON TRUTH IS TO ABANDON FREEDOM.”

I felt a strong emotional response to a 2-year-old on his father’s shoulders, holding a sign (from Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”) that read: “I SPEAK FOR THE TREES.”

Walking alongside him and his dad was his mother, who carried a large hand-crafted sign that said: “UNLESS.”

A young man who told me he was a college math major carried this sign: IT’S 2017, NOT 1702.”

While I was once a good math student, I had to ask him to explain.

He said he was just fooling around pushing our present year numbers back to a time when science was primitive (in the process using this year’s four digits for an earlier time — could just as easily been 1720, he said).

Among other striking home-made signs were: “RESIST THE NEW DARK AGES,” “MAKE AMERICA SMART AGAIN” and “GO GREEN BEFORE GREEN GOES.”

Two women, about my age, carried a huge sign with a picture of Earth and a large caption that read: “I’m WITH HER!”

Two male college students also carried a large sign with a globe.

On their sign in hand-printing, larger than the globe size, was: “SHE’S HOT!”

Some of my other favorite signs included: “A WOMAN’S PLACE IS IN THE LAB” and “SCIENCE IS NOT SILENCE.”

As an ice cream lover, I relished the sign of a huge cone, topped with a large scoop and then the caption: “YOU WOULDN’T LET YOUR ICE CREAM MELT, WOULD YOU?”

Many signs expressed this theme: “INVEST IN SCIENCE, NOT WAR.”

Indeed, every careful student of history knows that in a democracy: “The Power of the Budget is the Power to Choose.”

It’s budget time for the President and the U.S. Congress.

How do you want them to choose?

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