Saturday’s monthly meeting of the Starkville TEA Party gave a clear picture of local discontent with national politics.
Opinions expressed at Saturday’s meeting line up with core values of the TEA Party movement nationwide, which call for a recognition of God, fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets as it relates to local, state, and national political issues.
The meeting was held at 3 p.m. at Fellowship Baptist Church. Mayor Parker Wiseman and Representative Danny Reed were in attendance to hear what local residents had to say. After prayer and the pledge, the meeting was opened up for comments from those in attendance.
The first comments were made by Tomasz Haupt, a research professor at Mississippi State University. He explained that he lived in Poland under extreme Socialism.
“It doesn’t work,” Haupt said. “They tried to tell us what to eat and how much to eat. It was done in the name of social justice. It was a nightmare.”
Jimmy Bourland, a Tea Party member from Columbus, referred to Deuteronomy 28 in the Old Testament about the judgments against people and nations who reject God.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is a special country,” Bourland said. “The Declaration of Independence is a marvelous blueprint for getting us back on track. We should not take our Constitution for granted.”
Denver Sealy pointed out that God allowed this country to be established so that men could govern themselves and look to God for truth.
Laura Chastain said, “The dangers of Communism are not taught in schools.” She wondered if teaching about the dangers of Communism makes socialists uncomfortable. She said that a lot of people are stirred, but not enough.
Barbara James shared some figures about Congressional expenditures paid by the taxpayers. She said for a nine-month period during late 2009 and early 2010, the taxpayers footed the bill for 2.6 million dollars for Congressional Representatives and their staffs, 604,000 dollars for bottled water alone.
Martha Ward encouraged citizens to pray for leaders and pray for the nation. She encouraged members to live the best lives possible as individuals—stay out of debt and stay informed.
“This country is like a light set on a hill, set up by God himself,” Ward said.
Terry Kellum, a former county supervisor, said one thing we can do is vote.
Gene Martin said that the Starkville Tea Party is in the beginning stages,
“Our best influence will come on the local level,” Martin said. “Our local government appears to be preparing to pass another bond issue and raise our taxes. Wouldn’t it be great if Starkville were the first city in Mississippi to have no debt?”
Martin said 54 percent of the Starkville budget goes to public schools.
“And yet (public schools) have no accountability,” Martin said. “We should have an elected school board instead of one that is appointed.”
John Lee said that he agrees that one thing we can all do is pray.
“It is the greatest country in the world, but our people need to wake up,” Lee said. “We have gotten away from our core values; we need to stop the runaway budget.”
Chairman of the Starkville Tea Party Executive Committee Terry Fulgham said, he wants his grandchildren to experience the same freedom he had growing up.
“All levels of government are trying to regulate our lives,” Fulgham said. “The city of Starkville has now charged me $15 to put up a banner for 15 days. What is that $15 going to do? We also have 151 separate school districts in our state of 82 counties. Why can’t we consolidate and save money?”
Jud Ward said that William Tyndale lived in England about the time that Columbus discovered America and wanted the Bible to be in the hands of common people. Ward said Tyndale went underground and translated the Bible into English. Though he was strangled and burned, the Bible did reach the common people. Ward said because of him, we have Bibles today.
“His sacrifice, the sacrifice of our founding fathers, and the patriots who gave their blood in founding this country have blessed us with a great legacy for which we should be eternally grateful,” Ward said. “We all need to step up and fight to preserve it just as they stepped up to help provide it for us.”
Denver Seely encouraged residents to be “the salt of the earth.”
“If we lose our direction and don’t do our part, we are not of value, just as salt that has lost its savor,” Seely said. “That could have catastrophic results for the world. We should extend our vision to see that it is about more than the present.”
Seely also expressed concern that money set aside for retirement will not be there when they are ready for it in the future.
Carol Gospodnetich is concerned about what is happening in public schools.
“True history is being left out of the textbooks,” Gospodnetich said. “The government should be bound to follow the Constitution. Political correctness is a real problem. If you take an opposing view you are called a racist.”
For more information about the Starkville TEA Party, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org