This Ain’t Another Appeal! It’s a DEMAND

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

[Youth] are showing up. They’re the best-educated generation in American history; they’re the least prejudiced generation in American history, the most engaged generation in American history, and the most involved.  – President Joe Biden

President Biden now holds a slim lead over Donald Trump, having overcome a four-point deficit since his March 7, 2024, State of the Union address. Since October of last year, Trump has held an uninterrupted lead in the polls.

Undoubtedly, perceptions of a healthy economy, the abortion issue, and broader trends like the State of the Union have fueled Biden’s swift rise. Yet, the winds of change sweeping across the political landscape may ultimately serve as a “fools’ spring” or period of false prosperity if young voters’ emerging voice and power have their say.

Voters aged 18-34 comprise 40 million potential voters in 2024, nearly one-fifth of the American electorate. This group will make up a significant voting bloc and potentially sway the Trump-Biden rematch substantially. This bloc also includes about 8.3 million young people who will have become newly eligible to vote since the 2022 midterm elections.

Born with technology at their fingertips, this socially and politically aware generation is organized and mobilized, using fresh approaches to introduce innovative solutions into our democracy.

Most importantly, they’re most fired up and passionate about genocide and humanitarian concerns in Palestine.

Recent polls from Quinnipiac University, Economist/YouGov, and CBS/YouGov reveal a pronounced generational divide in U.S. attitudes toward Israel and Palestine, particularly among those voters under 35. These younger Americans increasingly criticize pro-Israel U.S. policies and show more empathy towards Palestinians, contrasting with older groups who favor traditional stances.

Notably, over half of young Democrats oppose further U.S. military aid to Israel, indicating widespread disapproval of current foreign policies.

So much so that a coalition of a dozen liberal organizations and labor unions, according to the New York Times, sent a letter to the White House recently “DEMANDING” that President Biden end military aid to Israel until its government lifts restrictions on humanitarian aid to Gaza, the latest indicator of shifting mainstream Democratic opinion on the war.

The letter calls on President Biden to enforce the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars military support from going to any nation that restricts the delivery of humanitarian aid.

NextGen America, which focuses on driving voter turnout among young people, is a major player in the coalition advocating an end to military aid to Israel. Next Gen, in particular, has seen a surge of young people saying they care about foreign policy and this issue in a way we have not seen historically.

Locally, groups like the United Muslims have praised Toledo City Council and its president, Carrie Hartman, for passing a ceasefire resolution.

Presumptive Lucas County Democratic Party Chair Schuyler Beckwith, speaking for herself and not the Party, also says, “I am so proud that our Toledo City Council unanimously supported a ceasefire resolution. We are seeing how important this issue is to so many in our community, especially young folks who made their voices heard by contacting council members and attending meetings. I hope the horrifying destruction happening in Gaza ends and a peaceful resolution can be reached.”

However, most alarming to the current administration is the growing risk that Mr. Biden will lose support from a critical part of the Democratic coalition if the American position toward the war in Gaza does not significantly change.

“I do believe this will be a big issue this election cycle,” Beckwith points out.

Ms. Tzintzún Ramirez, the president of NextGen America, goes even further, adding: “We are concerned with the humanitarian and moral implications and the political survival of the administration,”

What I hear in statements by Beckwith and Ramirez, along with the nation’s youth, is a clarion call for meaningful political action and a demand to turn our backs on the performative and embrace the transformative.

For decades, the U.S. has proclaimed its commitment to human rights, yet when examining the situation in Palestine, the gap between rhetoric and action becomes painfully evident. Like its predecessors, the Biden administration has been criticized for dragging its feet on this critical issue. While diplomatic statements are made condemning violence and calling for peace, the U.S. continues to provide substantial military aid to Israel, even as reports of human rights violations and restrictions on Palestinian humanitarian aid persist. This contradiction undermines the U.S.’s credibility on human rights and highlights the failure of symbolic gestures to effect real change in crisis zones.

This is a critical time for impactful political action. Our moment of reckoning has come.

For too long, we’ve seen resolutions passed with great fanfare only to gather dust on bureaucratic shelves. We’ve watched leaders post supportive messages on social media, providing the illusion of solidarity without the backbone of action. According to young voters, such measures no longer suffice—our challenges are too significant, and the time is too short.

As voters, activists, and now visible stakeholders in our nation’s future, young people are raising their voices louder than ever and the sound is clear. They are demanding that commitments be met with policy and promises kept with legislative follow-through.

They are right.

The phrase “Shining City on a Hill,” once envisioned as a beacon of moral clarity, represents an ideal to be emulated. Therefore, to create a more just and unified nation, we will have to embody social justice and humanitarian principles not just in name only but in practice.

Yet, the Democratic Party, diverse and broad, must also strive for cooperation and bridge-building among its varied agendas if it is to be successful in November 2024.

Furthermore, our nation’s strength and evolution are maximized when the enthusiasm and innovation of young people are combined with the experience and influence of established leaders. Together, these strategies can foster a more harmonious and progressive society.

So, borrowing loosely from scholar April Baker-Bell, let there be no misunderstanding: this ain’t another request, suggestion, or offer. It is not an ask for better times or a plea for gradual improvement.

And, “This is not an appeal! This is a DEMAND for Social Justice.”

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at