Guest Commentary: Gov. Phil Bryant Is a Caveman | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Guest Commentary: Gov. Phil Bryant Is a Caveman

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Photo by Jacob Fuller.

With a headline that surely makes every person who reads it cringe, our governor makes us look like backwards idiots once again: “Mississippi governor: Educational troubles began when ‘mom got in the workplace.'" The Washington Post writes this morning:

‘Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America’s educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers.

Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became “so mediocre” in regard to educational outcomes, he said:

I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.

Bryant immediately recognized how controversial his remark would be and said he knew he would start to get e-mails. He then expanded on his answer, saying that “both parents are so pressured” in families today. He also noted that America seemed to be losing ground internationally in regards to educational outcomes because other nations began to invest more in their own school systems and make progress.’

This completely infuriates me, as a working mom in Mississippi, on so many levels. And it infuriates a lot of my friends as well. Here are a few things my friends have had to say in the last hour about Gov. Bryant's latest idiotic remark:

“Folks, in case you wondered why I'm a Democrat, it's in no small part because I believe in women. While Gov. Bryant blames education failures on working parents, he has apparently failed to notice that American women are better educated than we've ever been, precisely because we have opportunities and choices in our careers. Heck, some of us even go to med school and make pioneering medical discoveries in HIV research, right here in Mississippi. But it's nice to know that Gov. Bryant thinks that we should have been at home in the kitchen instead.”

“Dear Republican Party: You really better get your act together. You are not minting any new Republicans. And, if you want to know why, look at headlines like this one.”

“There is a disconnect between cause and effect among misogynists. They think since women are the ones who get pregnant, they are the ones responsible for all births, therefore they are responsible for all the resulting child rearing and support. They don't really see a correlation between having unprotected sex with a woman and a subsequent pregnancy. They set men back about 10,000 years. Surprise, surprise Gomer....for every single mother there is a single father. That's the way it works.”

“This all assumes two-parent households only. This assumes the mother is to blame for all of society's ills. This is such terrifying ignorance coming from who we say is in charge of our state.”

“So mothers go work and the world goes to pot....very interesting. Is he saying that fathers don't engage their children intellectually? They don't read to them, talk to them, train or counsel them? Because why...they are working? He must be the worst father in the world.”

“As a mom who quit a job to stay home and homeschool for 10 years I'd like to punch this little jerk in the face. Because we know how great life was before women could vote and do jobs and stuff. But maybe our labor problems started when we ended slavery? What about child labor? Bring back those good ol' days. What you have to remember is that they whine about this so much because they're losing the battle, and with it their God-given power and privilege. #getusedtoitbuddy”

“I guess women never went to work in states like California and Connecticut.”

The comments go on and on.

Does this man not live in our world? Why does he think women work? Because they have other options? Because they are bad mothers? Because they do not love their children? I simply cannot wrap my head around what might be going on in his mind. Forty-four percent of kids live in single-parent households in Mississippi. Also, Mississippi ranks in the bottom five nationally in education spending, according to the Associated Press, thanks in no small part to Governor Bryant and his Republican buddies.

You can’t demonize welfare moms sucking the government teat and also demonize working moms, Governor Bryant. You can’t have it both ways.

Has it ever occurred to you that many, many teachers are mothers?

Weren’t your own two children the product of a household with a working mom? (Deborah Bryant has worked at St. Dominic Hospital for 37 years?!)

Women work because they want to pay for food for their children. Because they want to pay for medicine and doctor’s visits, and shoes and a roof over their family’s heads. Because they want to create a better community for their children. Because they have curious minds and big ideas, and ways to make our world better. As my friend mentioned in a comment above, a woman in Mississippi made great advances in curing HIV only last year. Perhaps Gov. Bryant thinks we would be better served had Dr. Gay stayed home and kept her hypothetical children.

Men can be good parents, too, Gov. Bryant. Fathers can have a great impact on a child’s learning as well. Perhaps this is something you should consider, as a father yourself.

I don’t think there’s anything that can change the deep-seated, evangelical/fundamentalist Christian beliefs that our governor holds. It is engrained into him that women are less than men. That they should bow to men’s desires, and not overstep a woman’s role, in the home and in the world.

And I know for fact he intends to govern our state by these beliefs. He has made this very, very clear. A theocracy is his hope and goal.

I am embarrassed we have elected such a man to lead our great state.

Cristen Hemmins lives in Oxford, Miss.

Comments

js1976 6 years, 2 months ago

The Washington Post is pulling a page from the Fox News playbook! If you look at the entire quote you would see that he did not fail to recognize the achievements of women. It is a great American story that women have overcome barriers and contributed so much to our society other than being mothers.

Bryant responded: "Both parents started working, and the mom is in the work place. That's not a bad thing. I'm going to get in trouble. I can just see — I can see the emails tomorrow. But now, both parents are working. They're pursuing careers. It's a great American story now — that women are in the work place."

The moderator asked if it was the mother's place to teach children to read.

Bryant said: "No, no, no. But I think there was that loving, nurturing opportunity — that both parents had a little bit of time."

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forwomen 6 years, 2 months ago

As a well-educated woman with one of the most difficult degrees my university offers, I desire to one day stay home and fully invest in my children. All of me. I will spend more time with my children than their teachers and babysitters.

Should I be insulted that you, and many successful women like yourself, think that my desires are demeaning to women? Why is it so insulting to say, "Things were better when women stayed at home. Crime rates were lower. Children more educated. The country ran better." It's true. Why? Not because women are causing some huge disruption. It's because we think "being in the kitchen" is demeaning and a waste of our brain. In reality, the biggest impact you can have is in your home. It should be a compliment to women that they have the power to cause so much change to a nation. We are valuable in the home because we are THAT important. Being a mother... Being a wife... It's an honor. It's to be treasured. And it is not to be taken lightly. I am thankful for men like Governor Bryant who see the TRUE value in women. The home is the one place where we can have an impact that men cannot. It's where we are truly unique and truly set apart. I'm all for women working, voting, etc. But good grief, let's stop whining when a man says woman and home in the same sentence. Women, we have our rights that people fought for. They aren't going anywhere. Let's be content and quit whining already.

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wataworld 6 years, 1 month ago

GOOD GRIEF is correct, but hay, lets admit it, MOST MEN would love to say the very same thing, they just don't have the guts to do it. SO don't blame it all on ole gov. BUt we all know why people do that. PEOPLE don't want to hear the truth,... Truth is even if some of my buds wouldn't like it, I am for ANYONE that can make this world a better place, and Im not seeing that in most of our politicians. IF I am not mistaken there are plenty more Americans that feel the same way. but yet so many are too busy fighting the WRONG fight!!! MORE THAN ANYTHING I think someone needs to find a way to rescue our youth, the ones we are losing hourly to death,violence and prison. ALL COLORS!!!! PEOPLE are AFRAID, very afraid in this world. that includes our young people. JUST MY OPINON of course and I do NOT have the education so many have that just love to flaunt it. SO please excuse me if I mispell or create a typo. seems like a lot of people just love to point a typo or mispelling out especially on Face book. JMO

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