Tea Party Group Began with Phone Conversation

Meridian Tea Party.com was born amid concerns about the political climate and actions taken by government.

The grassroots organization is still in its infancy, but is making major strides.

Named in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when Americans rebelled against colonial taxes, MeridianTeaParty.com is a collaboration of two local groups.

The first publicly appeared on Tax Day, Apr. 15, 2009. Members gathered in downtown Meridian to demonstrate their dissatisfaction of being "taxed enough already." This idea of being 'Taxed Enough Already,' is actually what the 'tea' in tea party stands for.

Two months after that, the second group formed.

"It swelled from three people with an idea on the telephone to between 400 and 500 people getting the e-mails and keeping up with the information," said Paul Tarver, co-founder of MeridianTeaParty.com.

Tarver said, surprisingly, the people receiving the e-mails are not just from Meridian or Lauderdale County. He said many are from surrounding counties including Clarke, Neshoba, Kemper, and some in west Alabama.

"Our fundamental principals are constitutional fidelity, fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility," said Tarver. "And those go across the board. It doesn't matter what your political bent is."

Tarver says it's important not only to have responsibility when it comes to our pocketbooks but also to our computers. That's why he has set up an area on the tea party's Web site where visitors can go to verify information received via e-mail.

As for the tea party movement, Tarver says it has nothing to do with political parties nor race.

"It's got nothing to do with that. If it did how do you explain the popularity of Condoleeza Rice or Thomas Sowell, who is one of the greatest writers or political thinkers in the world?" said Tarver.

Does Tarver believe his organization is misunderstood?

"Only if someone hasn't read the material that's on our Web site, or if they choose to misunderstand us," said Tarver. "We've been very clear about our principals."


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