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Guest Opinion

“Uncommitted” Democrats casting protest votes


Pennsylvania holds its primary election Tuesday, with competitive races on the line. Still, with nominations for president effectively decided, I’m asking my fellow Democrats to object to the United States’ enabling of ongoing atrocities in Gaza. I’m urging you to dissent. Complete your primary ballot, but write “Uncommitted” for president.

After the substantial turnout of such protest votes in Michigan and Wisconsin, and its apparent impact on President Biden’s White House, Pennsylvania Democrats now have a moral responsibility to demonstrate solidarity.

Their organized action proved to our leadership that this can no longer be dismissed as a marginal issue. This is not just the sentiment of some activists in Dearborn. All Democrats are obligated to challenge the president, regardless of party, when he’s wrong. And the reality is indefensible.

Over decades, the U.S. has enabled Israel’s illegal and violent occupation of the West Bank, the isolation and starvation of Gazans and the brutal repression of peaceful, civil resistance by Palestinians pursuing their rights to statehood.

Now the International Court of Justice, the United Nations authority established after the Second World War, has ruled it is “plausible” Israel violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Israeli leadership created the setting for inevitable violence, death and disaster. Their government caused a famine for more than 2 million people, half of whom are children. Their military has repeatedly and intentionally killed unarmed civilians, medical professionals, humanitarian relief workers and journalists. It is an audacious pattern of targeting those who heal, those who report and document, those who dare to feed the starving. This is not war; this is genocide.

When reporters described Saudi Arabia’s 2018 bombing of a school bus in Yemen, it was intolerable that American munitions were murdering children. When cable news covered Putin’s indiscriminate artillery strikes hitting hospitals, it was obvious to us that collateral injury to civilians is unacceptable. But now, for generations, people will be stricken and appalled by the devastation wrought upon Gaza and our role in it. The U.S. cannot afford to support international law only when it’s “convenient.” We must defend human rights, regardless of the geopolitics.

As a Democratic Party committee person in a crucial county in a swing state, I understand these words have more weight right now.

Some lament that voting won’t matter, but you don’t count when you stay on the couch. Others agonize that objections will cause “infighting,” dooming us in November.

But the integrity of our coalition relies on shared values. We cannot endure hypocrisy. When our president repeats unverified or questionable information, we must push back. When the military-industrial complex populates newsrooms, and mainstream media works overtime to manipulate emotions, we must be skeptical. When people vote for Democrats, we must be better.

Kyle Esposito lives in East Rockhill Township.

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