Reason to Believe

16-year-old Jesse Civello brings down the house at the Philadelphia Tea Party

It’s not often that I’m speechless. The size of my mouth and its propensity to be wide open–spewing right-wing extremism, of course–makes me who I am. Two days ago, however, when I was able to spend a few minutes at the Tax Day Tea Party protest here in the City of Brotherly Love, I was rendered absolutely speechless, save for the irresistible urge to nudge a similarly wide-eyed stranger next to me and whisper, “this kid is good.”

Jesse Civello is sixteen years old. He is a student at Cheltenham High School here in the Philadelphia area. His dream is to one day become a United States Senator. I can believe it.

Day in and day out, reading what I read and hearing what I hear, it is sometimes difficult to be optimistic. As a father of a wonderful little three-year-old girl, I am especially concerned for our future. As a law student who, despite attending school at night, spends a good deal of time with just-out-of-college younger students, it is especially trying at times to find promise in a sea of progressive thought and vacuum nearly devoid of common sense.

Jesse Civello, standing behind the podium in his bowtie and his braces, should be cause enough to renew that boundless optimism in us all. The videos here show most of Jesse’s remarks; I encourage all of you to watch them, but only after you read his speech in full. In the meantime, I hope–scratch that . . . I know you will enjoy his statement as much as I did.

If this is the future of America, I’m going to sleep well tonight.

– Jeff

Jesse Civello — Tea Party Remarks
Philadelphia, April 15, 2009

My fellow patriots, the clouds of socialism have reached our horizon. The passion of freedom has been shaken, and the voice of democracy has released its call.

The patriotic warning of a government too big. The resonating voice of a nation unheard. And the squalor of an administration too concerned with bailouts to see a revolution brewing.

What are We the People to do, when it seems the power players have yet to listen? What are We the People to do when our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has become a disappearing dream?

My friends, the answers lie in the rich history of these fifty United States of America that we call home. We will turn the pages of history in our quest to write our own, and on that journey we will discover the passion of our founding fathers and the resolve of our independence.

The year was 1776 and the day was the Fourth of July. It was a hot July day in the city of Philadelphia and our founding fathers had just adopted the Declaration of Independence. The radical thought of independence was spreading across the thirteen colonies and the signal for revolution had been issued. The armed American Revolution lasted 8 years, in which more than 25,000 Americans perished under the banner of revolution. Today, I stand before you on the same streets of freedom that our founding fathers have marked, and with the most pride and prejudice I declare that, today, we make history under the same banner of revolution of which our past brothers and sisters have fought, and together we can put an end to the silenced majority.

Our revolution is not an armed conflict. Quite the contrary. Our revolution is a peaceful, yet powerful signal to our neighbors, to our leaders, and to the world, a signal that the American people will no longer sit back and watch the debt of our country soar well over 11 trillion dollars, without the transparency that the American people deserve when it comes to our tax dollars.

When Congress decided to bail out the auto industry, the American people had no say. When Congress decided to bail out Wall Street, the American people had no input. It’s time now that the political leaders of our country extend that courtesy–and frankly the right–to the people, so that We the People can decide where our tax dollars are going.

When Congress decided to Recover and Reinvest in America, with President Obama’s economic stimulus package, the American people once again had no voice. The problem lies right within the title of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” The problem is that the leaders of our country stopped investing in the American people years ago, and now all of the sudden they believe they can reinvest with the single largest expenditure in American history, towering at 787 billion dollars. I stand here and I say “no, absolutely not.” Not on our watch. Not on our dollar.

When the leaders of country stopped listening to us, they stopped investing.

When the President signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he proved he wasn’t willing to listen. Now, when the leaders of our country ask the people to submit to the undue burden of unconscionable spending, we are here to rise up and say “no, absolutely not.” Not on our watch. Not on our dollar.

To be naïve enough to believe that reinvesting in the American people now after ignoring our cries will change the economic situation is simply idiotic. Let us once again go back in history and discover the path to a true recovery.

We start with our founding fathers. They understood the meaning of a consistent investment in the patriots of America, the American dream, and the future of the American people.

They realized that, by encouraging the spirit of the American dream to soar high, entrepreneurship would lead America to the head of the line. Currently, we continue to battle small business owners with over-taxation and laws that make the spirit of competitiveness unrealistic.

We need to understand that America is the greatest country in the world, not because we have fifty states and fifty capitals but because we had a spirit that led to hard work above all, a determination to succeed against all odds, and the support of a government who realized the beauty of all American people from all walks of life.

The solution we seek from our founding fathers is this: encourage the worker to work for himself and find success, tax only what is necessary, and the worker will give back to the American dream with ingenuity what they aren’t forced to give back in taxes. Allow the small business owner to accomplish their dreams without the shadow of big government, and I promise that America will once again recover. The American spirit of greatness is stronger than the shadow of big government.

When in the history of our great country did our leaders stop listening to the people? The answer is simple: our leaders stopped listening when they realized that when people are silent, they can get away with greed and excessive power. The government has learned to silence the people with fear and determination; they have made us believe that 787 billion dollars of tax payer money is the only way to American recovery. Once again, history shows quite the contrary.

I tell the Obama administration, from the truths of history, to open the doors to the American people so that the solutions of today can be the American solutions of tomorrow and not the ownership of foreign countries through our debt.

Listen to what we are saying today and tomorrow, and together we will find the solutions. Right now, we are stuck in the middle of an economic situation what has turned crisis because government has become blind to the individual American and instead has turned to special interest groups who whisper the tales of the necessity of big government spending. The truth of the matter is that, if the Obama administration decides to reverse its policy of shutting out the voice of the people, America can tomorrow be greater than ever before. I plead the right of the people to talk, the obligation of the government to listen, and action of the country to move forward.

The Obama administration needs to stop investing with American dollars and start reinvesting in the American people, with an honest and transparent government that welcomes the concerns and suggestions of the American people.

It’s time our government has reexamined the concerns of its people, and the truths of our convictions.

It’s time the government listens to the people talk. The time has come for the government to truly follow its creed of public service and be fiscally responsible, morally approachable, and free from the chains of politics.

I have no doubt that we will rise above the politics of our current situation. Today, we show the leaders of our country that, on April 15, 2009, people from all walks of life came together across the country to protest the irresponsible spending of their tax dollars, starting a revolutionary movement to declare that people must have a say in their government. Today, we stand and say, “no, absolutely not.” Not on our watch. Not on our dollar.

I pray the ignorance that surrounds Washington, D.C. will be swept away and the reform of people above politics will take hold.

Thank you, and God Bless America!



  1. THE FUTURE IS NOW says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    All that and no telepromter to speak of!


    Some of these nitwits in Washington have been there for twice as long as Jesse has been alive, yet Jesse gets it and they do not.

    I know. It’s amazing.

    – Jeff

  4. Sammy says:

    What a pleasant surprise! I really appreciated hearing Jesse’s perspective.

  5. goddessdivine says:

    His parents must be proud. I’m proud, and he’s not even my child.

    Get this kid a job in Washington. He could replace any politician up there, and would accomplish more in 6 years than any one of them have done their whole career.

    I may steal this……

  6. Linda says:

    BRAVO!! BRAVO!! BRAVO!! I am teary eyed just reading the transcript, yet alone watching and listening to the video and feeling his spirit. Can we pass a bill where 13-year-olds are allowed to run for office? Thank you ever so much for passing this on. How appropriate this young man appeared in such a historically-seated city like Philadelphia. You were fortunate to be in his presence. Maybe there is hope. Once again, thanks for passing this on and lifting my spirit at this very troubling time.

  7. Dee says:

    Someone needs to send this to Mark Levin. Jesse attends the same school as The Great One

    Mesa, Az

  8. tm says:

    He is brilliant.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Totally inspiring! Thanks for posting that, Jeff…really made my day!


  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t want to pour water on the party, but all this was is a partisan speech from a 16 year old. Gingrich, Palin, Romney et al could have given the same speech, and none of you would have even noticed it…

    If this kid wants to be a politician, he’s well on his way – the rhetoric is there. I, however, would like to see someone like him on the front lines of the battle, because he seems to have the passion necessary to fight the good fight.

  11. Linda says:

    Dear Anonymous “I don’t want to pour . . . ” Try to put a little negativity aside and look to the fact that this country may not be totaly doomed if this young man is indicative of what’s coming down the pike. It’s because this 16year old spoke out in such a manner that it makes it even more noticeable and viable. I believe you are wrong – if this speech had been made by someone in the news, it would have been noticed. Children this age do not know of rhetoric. Further, I am shocked that he actually goes to a local high school and is not home-schooled. So very few of our young adults are allowed to think so freely. Be happy for this article and proud of his him, his parents, and his teachers.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have to disagree with anonymous 2:08 pm. I didn’t once hear this teenager refer to either party or take sides with one. Disagreeing with the administration doesn’t constitute partisanship, (which always seems to carry with it a negative connotation ). He is only exercising his God-given right to think freely and draw his own conclusions. Take note of his last paragraph in particular.

    To be honest, thousands of American’s could have given his speech, so long as they possessed his same knowledge of true history, economics, and current events involving this administration. What does set him apart for making this speech is his passion about what is happening in Washington D.C. He does not have any “legal” voice to be heard,since he is not old enough to vote. However, he will be paying more for the mistakes of this administration’s egregious spending than any of the politicians in D.C. They SHOULD care what he thinks, because he and everyone else his age are the future of this country.

    I for one am proud of him.

    A mother of three teenagers and one infant who are already in debt to the government

  13. Anonymous says:

    John Ziegler, the documentarian who released a film that showed the media bias against Palin, was arrested at USC for trying to question Katie Couric about her biased reporting. Mind you, Couric is not a politician, not even anyone important……but he got arrested for trying to question her.

    And on top of this, anyone with a right wing bent, according to the DHS, including veterans, is an “extremist”.

    Anyone against the corrupt lying Usurper will be rounded up and arrested.

    Good bye to our freedoms. And you thought you lived in a free country?

  14. Rix says:

    Here is an example of a highly inspirational but, alas, fairly toothless speech. As one of my favorite quotations says, CATS DO NOT CARE WHAT MICE THINK OF THEM.

    Look how much Obama “achieved” in under four months of time, protests and all. If he keeps this pace, in two years he will effectively ensure that the majority of population financially depend upon the government. There will be no fair elections any more, just selection (read my lips: appointment) of chosen candidates in just enough states and districts to guarantee the Triple Play domination the Democrats now enjoy. the press is already in their pocket, with very few noteworthy exceptions that might, as Russian experience shows, also prove temporary under governmental pressure. Gradually, enough of the judicial body will be replaced to block any possible challenge, and the regime will solidify enough to have as much of the Constitution repealed as they please.

    Many of the writers and commenters here invoke the “silent majority” term. There is no silent majority anymore! Sum up social strata that have vested financial interest in the socialist regime (hyphenated minorities, welfare recipients, state employees, trade unions, bohemian communities, students) and folks so inherently stupid as to being unable to unglue their minds off the TV screen, and the math will come dangerously close to 50%. Granted, not all of the above are sworn Democratic voters, but their numbers are growing fast and, with the economy tumbling down, so is their motivation.

    So if the conservatives have grandstanding plans to retake power in 2010, there is a nasty surprise for them: it might prove impossible.

  15. Linda says:

    And I know many who are ready to [literally] take up arms against this, Rix.

  16. Anonymous says:

    it would be interesting that a professional would make a study of the body language of our dhs sec

  17. Gail B says:

    “O beautiful, for patriot dream
    That sees beyond the years,
    Thine alabaster cities gleam
    Undimmed by human tears!
    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!”

    America, Jesse Civello is living proof that God has, indeed, “shed His grace on thee!”

  18. Lil says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeff. It is truly inspirational and should be shown all over the net. Obama managed to hoodwink a lot of yound adults with his so-called superstar quality, yet many are still unaware of the damage he’s has brought upon them with the many bailouts he’s passed.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Our great Nation is still alive and this young man is living proof! We cannot let them down by standing by and doing nothing.

    God Bless The USA!!!!


  20. Anonymous says:

    did anyone hear about the whitehouse requesting georgetown u cover certain religious symbols when the embarrassment in chief spoke this week ??!!!!
    what outrage and insult – how much insult can and must we endure – the vets , prolife , conservatives -ordinary christians – the tea parties of which our family attended in va beach va – everyone expressing the same fear of where we are headed and the massive destruction of our constitutional rights not to mention the unbridled spending without conscience !!!

  21. sharon says:

    This is wonderful, check it out

  22. Brian H says:

    Not tea bags, but … I hope before he gives his next speech he passes the draft in front of a grammar and style editor. The text is replete with clashing metaphors, case errors, and other awkwardnesses. As is often the case, they get thicker towards the end, as “the horse smells the barn”. Oh, well. Next time.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Rix…I see your point, and it is indeed a frightening prospect; however, that is what the tea parties are all about, and even in spite of this administration’s super-sonic speed, we were able to garner 300k people across the country…in only a matter of weeks. That being a grassroots effort and simple “spreading the word”. Let’s not forget that our small colonies went up against the most powerful govt. and military at the time. For the first time throughout this whole debacle, including the elections and now the administration, I am happy. I don’t just feel better knowing people besides me feel this way. Going to sites like this helped me get through the despair…other Americans felt as I do. We talked to each and helped each other through it. The talking is over. The doing has begun. Americans aren’t idle thinkers and whiners…even though Paul Begala would have you think so…we get tired of talking. We know that the doing is what it takes get something done or achieved. That is why we are the greatest country in the world. The most exceptional country in the world. That is why we aren’t going to just sit around and watch this administration take us down with it, without a fight, and watch it defame us across the world on foreign soils. That isn’t our history. We aren’t going to let it happen without a say as to what is going on.
    …there comes and time and place when we realize that something has to be done. That is what has made America stand out from the rest. That is what will preserve America from the rest.
    The American Spirit is awake, and it will be a force to be reckoned with as it always has been.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this! Wow! This young man is awesome!
    I agree with you on the progressive mindset coming out of our youth in college. I was in college during the mid 90′s. I remember my history professor that constantly spoke against the United States. Sickening…
    My child is only in 1st grade. So far, we have yet to get an assignment on America. No books…no projects…no nothing…but, we have had multi-cultural night (which there were tables set up representing other countries), books on other countries, projects celebrating Mexico, etc. What is going on? There’s nothing wrong with knowing these things, but at this age, particularly, children should be learning about America, first. As someone said on Glenn Beck yesterday, …”today’s philosophy becomes tomorrow’s policies”. So, the burden lies on parents to teach their children outside of school.

  25. Linda says:

    For crying out loud Brian H. At least the kid was out there doing it. More than I can say for a lot of “gee,” and “hope,” people around now. Outspokenness and action is what made this country what it is and will continue to build this country. Let’s not thwart freedom of speech, and action over inaction, over a few “clashing metaphors” and “case errors.”

  26. Jeffrey Shallit says:

    Let’s see:

    - false claims about lack of representation

    - scaremongering about socialism

    - jingoism

    - appeals to religion

    Yup, sounds like a perfect prescription for an ignorant, far-right politician.

  27. Gail B says:

    Brian H said,

    “I hope before he gives his next speech he passes the draft in front of a grammar and style editor. The text is replete with clashing metaphors, case errors, and other awkwardnesses. As is often the case, they get thicker towards the end, as “the horse smells the barn”. Oh, well. Next time.”

    Brian, the kid is 16 years old, for crying out loud! How long did he have to write his speech? He certainly got his message across, and I would hate to think how good he is in math if English grammar is is weak subject.

    I didn’t see any videos of a “Brian H.” giving a speech on behalf of We the People. Did I miss it?


    Jingoism??? you mean like "HOPE" & "CHANGE". You're an idiot.

  29. Jeffrey Shallit says:


    I see you don’t know the meaning of the word “jingoism”. Try a dictionary.

  30. Jeffrey Shallit says:

    Right, loser. So how does “hope and change” qualify as jingoism?

    Answer: it doesn’t.

    An ignorant conservative – what a surprise!

  31. Dan says:

    I'm proud to know Jesse. Yeah, he gets it. I agree with every word he said here.

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