Andrew Demeter knew he’d only have one shot.
“It was kind of one of those moments where you’re like, ‘I’m either going to do this or I’m not,'” Demeter recalled. “I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity since I knew after I popped the question to Leader Pelosi I’d probably have a restraining order before I could ever do it again.”
The question, and Pelosi’s stammering response, wound up going viral.
“Why do you support the NSA’s illegal and ubiquitous data collection?” Demeter asked Pelosi, who responded with a series of half-statements.
“I guess I was naive thinking she’d give a straight answer to my question,” Demeter said in a conversation with TheBlaze.
How did Demeter find himself in a position to ambush Pelosi during a photo op? And who is this 16-year-old wunderkind, anyway?
Demeter has been making documentary-style videos since he was in the fourth grade, he told TheBlaze, starting with video game reviews and moving into political activism by the time he was 14.
“Ideologically I’ve been inspired by Ron Paul, Jesse Ventura, Adam Kokesh,” Demeter said.
Demeter’s documentary-style video “We The People, Genetically Modified?” won first prize in C-SPAN’s 2014 StudentCam competition, and it was during winners’ events that Demeter found himself within question-asking distance of Pelosi.
He now runs TeenTake, a YouTube channel broadcasting his youthful libertarianism — a libertarianism that he thinks comes naturally to most Americans.
“As far as freedom, I think younger generations — and older generations, although perhaps subconsciously — gravitate toward liberty-based ideologies,” Demeter told TheBlaze. “The State has made Americans so dependent, however, on drugs, welfare, security, etc. that Americans often too readily exchange liberty for said ‘services’ government provides.”
Demeter considers himself a foe of both Democrats and Republicans.
“I think both parties are equally ‘evil’, although I don’t think all candidates/subscribers of one party or the other are necessarily evil, as individuals like Ron Paul masquerade behind a particular party so as to have a large enough platform to disseminate their beliefs,” he said.
It’s a key point in his mind — while he hammered Pelosi on NSA surveillance, he noted that domestic spying really took off under a Republican administration.
“Bush signed into law, post-9/11, the PATRIOT Act which was the precursor to the NSA’s current datamining programs,” Demeter said. “While Pelosi said ‘Bush…went too far,’ herself and the Obama Administration have only expanded Bush’s programs.
He added, “It was comical to hear her blame the Bush Administration, despite Bush being out of office six years, for the NSA’s dragnet surveillance.”
Who would Demeter most want to ambush next?
“Perhaps I’d ask President Obama why he supports the murdering of innocent children abroad via collateral damage of drone strikes,” he said. “Or why he considers himself above the law and able to issue executive orders?”
Demeter thinks he has common cause with another man known for asking tough questions: Glenn Beck.
“I think (Beck and I) both prioritize liberty,” he said. “We understand that change, vis-a-vis shrinking the cancer that is government, is an incremental process, and said change requires not only concrete action, but also – and perhaps even more importantly – waking up the minds of our brothers and sisters, other Americans.”
Demeter sees the future of freedom in America as bright, thanks to the work of liberty-loving activists and a healthy dose of technology.
“While government has a stranglehold on the country, and arguably the world, Americans are reactively — and now proactively — responding,” he said. “The advent of Internet, social media in particular, has provided for humanity the ability to decentralize the traditional government narrative. No longer can government control media with such ease, Americans are becoming the new, alternative media. The potential power of information is literally in the hands and at the fingertips of millions of Americans.”
From big ideas like Bitcoin to everyday phenomena — such as a teenager with a smart phone — technology is enabling people to be more free.
“By asking real questions the mainstream media won’t ask, just by recording with a smartphone, Americans have fragmented the archaic and monolithic media,” Demeter said. “This is why the Internet, and technology, is so instrumental in the liberty movement.”
Demeter is a rising junior in high school.
He said he’s not quite sure, yet, what he wants to be when he grows up.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter