Change Is Coming - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1713714

Change Is Coming

The U.S. government was the first to employ specialized academics as expert advisers to the president in various fields.

Currently, we have Dr. Susan Rice, a Ph.D. from Oxford University, who advises Joe Biden on foreign policy, and was both ambassador to the United Nations and the National Security Advisor to President Obama. Historically, there has been an affinity between academic scholars and liberal politics. However, there are notable exceptions: Condoleezza Rice is a Republican conservative, and Dr. Henry Kissinger is a Republican though not a conservative.

Into this milieu of academic politicians, enter Dr. Nancy Goroff, a chemistry professor at Stony Brook University. She is trying to become the first scientist to become a member of the House of Representatives, opposing Lee Zeldin, a three-time Republican congressman.

There is a conceptual connection between academic politicians and Liberalism. Indeed, the political and social aims of Liberalism represent a distinctive attitude, sharply contrasted with Conservatism. The reasons for the Liberal’s dissatisfaction with the existing order of things historically have persuaded academics to infuse their expertise, be it political science or chemistry, into governance. Their broad-based knowledge is what makes them liberal. They bring it into the governing process, if not always in the product. Ultimately, their Liberalism describes the kind of society they desire to create.

Dr. Nancy Goroff belongs to this tradition. If elected, she, unlike Susan Rice or Henry Kissinger, will not serve at the pleasure of a president. She will be a legislator in a unique position to bring in the scientist’s knowledge and perspective into laws that require such expertise.

Congress makes laws. And since law reflects the interests of the society it emanates from, scientific knowledge is precisely what is needed. Nancy Goroff can give us this, particularly when we require laws governing the pharmacological industry, the environment and, most recently, COVID-19.

In Lee Zeldin, I see an enormous amount of unscientific assumptions, a tendency to lean on the Christian Right rather than on science and empirical evidence. Lee, a man of modest education compared to his opponent, has never been credible as a public servant. He has long abandoned his constituents in favor of being the president’s pet. We need to be rid of both.

This November election, let’s believe a change is coming. Let’s elect Joe Biden and Nancy Goroff. Let’s bring in a new awareness: in science, in personal dignity, and each other. Let’s believe in Nancy.

Shivaji Sengupta