"Stop the drones! Stop the war!"
"Let the babies live!"
The corner of California Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike outside Hofstra University became the site of multiple protests Tuesday evening as the campus prepared to host the second Presidential Debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Groups travelled from near and far to rally against abortion, cuts to Planned Parenthood, Zionism, animal cruelty, war and drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay and several other issues.
"This whole war against terrorism is a filthy lie … and it's not working even if it's true," said George Gercy, a retired Marine from Westchester County who has been traveling around the country with Know Drones demonstrating against drone attacks.
"Our president right now, his policy is to use drones more and more because we can't continue at the rate we've been fighting this war with the number of soldiers on the ground," Gercy said. "Our corporations, especially weapons manufacturers, are making lots of money and have our president in the palm of their hand."
Not only are these drone strikes terrorizing and killing innocent Afghan civilians, says Know Drones' founder Nick Mottern, of Hastings on Hudson, but they are breeding more hatred among those in the Middle East toward America.
"It's a heavy weight to bear morally, but to think you can kill people in other countries with no consequences, no blow-back, is infantile ... It's adding gasoline to the fire," Mottern said. "The people in Afghanistan not only don't like that we're killing them with drones, but they are insulted that we would send this machine to kill them like bugs rather than sending someone to fight them."
Planned Parenthood had a large contingent of supporters, and PETA had a man in an elephant costume protesting animal abuse. There was a group of "Torah Jews" opposing Zionism, very vocal anti-abortion demonstrator, “Women for Obama,” and veterans against war.
Members of Occupy Wall Street were on their way, said Walter Gafforio, 65, of West Babylon, who had two Occupiers from Miami staying at his home. He was there himself protesting atleast three issues, but said the debate only gives the illusion that America is a democracy.
"It's a hoodwinking of the American people. There is no debate," he said. "We have these two Wall Street guys who put on a show and do a little dance, and they fool a lot of people."