Jesse Civello: My Speech at the 2010 Philadelphia Tax Day Tea Party

So much has happened over one single, solitary year.

It was April 15, 2009 when I first stepped out into a cold rain and spoke to a collection of selfless patriots in Love Park in downtown Philadelphia, PA.  I think it shocked a few people, someone at my age speaking so candidly about freedom and liberty and the ideas put forth by our founders.  Now, at high noon, I have the chance to speak again.

Here are my prepared remarks.

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My fellow patriots, just one year ago today I proudly stood in this very spot and warned you that the clouds of socialism were upon our horizon. Today, we stand in the midst of those same clouds. Socialistic policies have infiltrated our republic and are threatening the liberty our forefathers fought so hard for. The American people have mobilized in efforts to be heard, yet have been swept aside by Washington politics and Washington’s policies.

To borrow a phrase from our president, it is time for “change.” Are we hopeful? Most certainly. Are we determined? Absolutely. And will we restore liberty to this great country? Yes. We stand unified in the birthplace of our nation. Our forefathers were banded together to create a unified republic, a proud place of liberty and democracy, and today our country’s policy stands at odds with their creation.

We have amassed over 12 trillion dollars in debt, which equates to about 116,000 dollars per taxpayer, and in the process we called it “recovery.” We have masked socialism and unconstitutionality and called it “health care reform.” These are the burdens of liberty and it is our obligation to reverse this dangerous trend.

A year ago today I never imagined that the Tea Party would become the face of the everyday American. That four out of every ten tea party patriots is either an independent or a democrat is a reflection that outrage over intrusive government is not a Republican belief or a Democratic ideal but rather an American principle. As Americans we must continue to pursue responsible, limited government, and this is a charge that the people of my generation and the generations to come leave you with.

The scariest thing in the world is the thought that I will be faced with over 12 trillion dollars of debt that I must work to pay; the face of the American dream once shone brightly for me and my generation but today it is the nightmare of debt and burden. I started paying taxes at 15 years of age with my first job.  I have understood the responsibility of the American people to pay taxes for essential services and felt proud to be fortunate to be able to do so. However, I cannot be proud of a nation whose out of control spending has amassed such disappointing debt.

It cannot be said that a nation which looks after its people, controls their purse. It cannot be written that a law demanding health insurance coverage looks after the Constitution.  And it goes without saying that the American people approve of neither. I use the words “fortunate enough to pay taxes” with reverence because I understand that when 9.7 percent of the American people are unemployed I was indeed fortunate to have been employed and working.

Today the American people are struggling, and on April 15th their debt to their government must be paid and approved. However, it is the debt to the American people that remains unaccountable.

Why does Washington believe that spending beyond their means is approved by the American people? I believe its time we remind Washington that we are their bosses. According to the 2007 U.S. Census the median household income here in the U.S. is $50,233 — that’s a $123,767 difference from the salary of folks in Washington. If a congressman is making $174,000 a year and Washington is spending over 12 trillion dollars too much, that’s a problem. I don’t think a computer technician making $46,000 a year in our city could expect to keep their job and spend beyond their own company’s means. This is reality, and it seems Washington has lost their sense of it.

The latest and greatest to come out of Washington is the health care reform bill, now signed into law. According to, the Congressional Budget Office said that 8 to 9 million people who would be expected to have employer-sponsored insurance under current law wouldn’t be offered such benefits by 2019, noting that many of the affected would mainly be low-income workers. My friends, this is government at its worst and irresponsibility at its best. It is sadistically ironic how the 8 to 9 million people who will be most affected by this dramatic change in health insurance coverage will be mostly low-income workers.

However, the shadow of big government has a catch for those 8 to 9 million workers and truly for the rest of America as well. Washington decided that the Constitution calls for mandating coverage for all Americans. There’s no article or section that provides authority for that type of mandate. No preamble or amendment.  Simply big government. The reality of the situation is that the health care takeover is unconstitutional. Our own legislators cannot back up their votes with the Constitution, and they surely won’t back it with the American peoples support.

I look around today and I see the faces of the many faces of Americans who are united in opposition to larger government. These are the faces of “We The People,” and it is “We The People” who will take back our country. The elections in November are fast approaching and this is our moment. Our time to define our country with the election of principled candidates and the removal of the bureaucrats in Washington.

I sense that, for the vast majority of Tea Party patriots, involvement in this movement to restore liberty is your first foray into politics. I challenge you to take the next step. Volunteer on a campaign for a candidate who stands up for the principles of smaller government and responsible, responsive legislation. Get involved in your local community. Attend your local council meetings and hearings. Voice your concern over spending at the school board meetings. This is democracy in action, this is the nature of our republic, and it is where the comeback of America will begin.

The president challenged his supporters to spread his message of healthcare takeover to the workplace and beyond. We must do the same. We have to talk to our friends, our neighbors our co-workers and spread the message of limited, responsive government. Together, we will make a difference, and together we will win. We must start in our local communities and bring the change to Washington.

I have been involved in politics since I was ten years old. I have worked the polls for a number of years and have been fascinated by the number of people who go in to vote on Election Day and choose the option of “choosing not to vote.” Counting the votes and seeing the usual half-dozen or so people who purposefully went to the polling place yet chose not to vote always seemed very odd. Odd, that is, up until now.

I now realize why everyday Americans went to vote on November 2nd and cast their vote in the form of “not voting.” They do this because they are disenfranchised with the political system, with the American government, and they see no solutions on either side of the aisle. They weren’t careless mistakes; they were purposeful actions that highlight the dire situation our republic is in.

Going to the poll and casting a vote is the duty of every American and its time we exercise this right. The presidential election of 2008 had the highest voter turnout in the past 40 years. This is a sad reality, one for which 2010 calls for redemption. This November, we have to get “We The People” out to vote. We have to clean house. If America is truly to be restored, we must replace the failure in Washington.

With soaring debt and a government unresponsive to the needs of the people, it is easy to become encased in the negativity of the situation. I warn you: this would be a grave mistake. To push forward, we must be united and defined — defined in our opposition, but not by negativity. We are patriots because we highlight evils in a country we love, and propose solutions because we truly care. We would be the same as the failures in Washington if we were to become encased in the negativity and fall victim to idle insurrection.

This is a revolution about choice. About liberty, democracy and reality. At the crossroads of liberty, hard choices must be made, but together like our forefathers we shall continue. We shall see that victory is written in the laws of our land, that victory is pursued through the democratic process as outlined in our Constitution, and that the voice of “We The People” is heard. This movement is more than angry people, it is passionate resistance to large, irresponsible government, and it is the intense reality of the American people. My friends, today we seek true representation in our government, tomorrow we seek a restored republic and together we will achieve both. Thank you, and G-d Bless America.



  1. We the People says:

    Amend Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5
    Jesse must be made eligible for the presidency.
    We can’t wait 18 more years.

  2. GA Peach says:


    I wish I could have been there in person to see it, but from the words you wrote and from the commitment I see in your eyes, I know you did a tremendous job. I hope your classmates see what you’re doing and understand.

    GA Peach

  3. Gail B. says:

    Good grief, John! We can handle only so much brilliance from our young’uns! I’m still in awe over your last year’s address. (Growing old ain’t for the faint-hearted folks! :^)

    I am so very proud of you, and I know your parents are, too, right along with the rest at AR. Great job!

  4. Gail B. says:

    Check out the red suspenders! (Betcha he’s going to fill Larry King’s spot!)

  5. Boston Blackie says:

    That was excellent, may I correct you on one point though.
    “We have amassed over 12 trillion dollars in debt, which equates to about 116,000 dollars per taxpayer, and in the process we called it “recovery.” We have masked socialism and unconstitutionality and called it “health care reform.” ”
    WE!?! not we, them.
    You need to apply for the job of speech writer for Sarah Palin. Your speech was much more inspirational than what I heard on Boston Common yesterday.
    Please keep us updated on your college selection.

  6. Boston Blackie says:

    Sorry, I meant not we, they….

  7. Psydog says:

    Sadly Jesse is not the typical youth in our society. Countless young people across our nation don’t even come close to the grasp of government that Jesse has nor do they even show interest in getting involved. I work with many folks that feel their opinion doesn’t matter. They decide what their political views are, based on polls and sound bites. They don’t take the time to research the facts because Washington feels so distant from what is happening to them on a daily basis. Yesterday a lady I work with told me she now realizes she made a mistake when she voted for Obama. She did not realize the Socialist agenda that was going to be fostered by this administration. I told her to search out Conservative candidates and learn about what they stand for and make a well educated decision in Nov, it’s not too late!

  8. Gail B. says:

    I am a member of a special-interest group: Citizens of the United States. It was good to see our lobbyists gathering coast to coast on Tax Day!

  9. Dan Johnson says:

    Psydog: I understand exactly what you’re talking about. I have been interested in the state of the country and watched the movements in government closely since sixth grade at the latest. Many of my fellow students, even when I was SEVENTEEN, wondered why I cared, stating that it somehow “didn’t affect” me. How they put that together, I have no clue. They obviously had no real grasp of even paying taxes, let alone the effect the economy can have on the individual.
    Now, at eighteen, I have been very much affected by the things my fellow students told me would not affect me. My college plans have changed due in large part to the recession.
    This ignorance and apathy is quite frightening; but frankly, what’s even scarier is that many adults display the same negative traits. Perhaps you can chalk that one up to the lack of nurturing political awareness – at least in part.


  1. [...] good or bad, the collection of speakers were relative unknowns.  America’s Right’s own Jesse Civello was first first and, in my biased opinion, best of the bunch.  Philadelphia-area political analyst [...]

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