Meet Devon Minnema, a 14-year-old political nut who might be one of the youngest Tea Party organizers in the country.
The rising sophomore from Dixon, Calif. is so committed to the libertarian, Tea Party cause that he once waved a sign reading “13 years old and trillions in debt” by himself on a street corner when his fellow Tea Partier buddies backed out on him on April 15th’s Tax Day nationwide rallies.
“I had a couple of friends that were going join me for just standing out on the corner with our protest signs,” Minnema said during a phone interview. “But then they all…ended up flaking out, and I figured because I had taken all the time to put together this sign… I better at least use it.”
But on another rally day in his hometown, located between San Francisco and Sacramento, he organized a protest expecting no more than 50 people to join — and four times as many people showed up. “We almost got in trouble with the city because, you know, it was just going to be an informal thing, but when 200 people showed up, it ended up being the entire intersection,” he said.
Minnema, the president of his Dixon High School Young Americas for Liberty chapter, attributes his love of government and politics to his parents. His mom is a reporter for the Dixon Tribune, he said, and his dad is an avid talk radio listener. “So between the two, I was always very aware of current events,” he said.
Right now, only four people are in his high school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, but he said younger people are paying more attention to government now than ever. “I feel like there are a lot of people who are kind of opening up to the idea of politics not being just for older people, not just for people who can vote. The more we bring it to them, the more they see the light.”
He became a libertarian in 7th grade, he said, while doing an assignment on the 2008 presidential campaign. “I learned about Ron Paul and started doing more research into him and his work, his beliefs in Austrian economics. That’s where it kind of took off.”
He said he’s “kind of disappointed” in the Republican candidates up for election in California. As for the Senate, he said, “Carly Fiorina is OK, but I think with all of her bailout banking donors, she’s gonna have a lot of things to owe. And it won’t be to the American people.” Meg Whitman in the governor’s race, he lamented, is “not exactly a red-blooded conservative.”
When it comes to his own future, Minnema foresees the political arena. “I have these business cards printed that say Minnema for President in 2044.”
But the ambitious politico is also very modest about the work he’s done. “With the Tea Party, it’s not so much about the organizers, as it is about the people who show up. In the end it comes down to who shows up.”