Gov. Phil Bryant’s Welfare-Queen Rhetoric | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Gov. Phil Bryant’s Welfare-Queen Rhetoric


Laurie Bertram Roberts

My kids often seem to think I'm a magical being. As most children do, they think that I have an easy solution to their problems. Even everyday life can seem like a fairy tale to children. I assure them that I can solve many things for them, but often the way to fix a problem is hard and takes time. Many people want us to believe there are easy answers to complex issues and problems. Diet-pill companies offer weight loss and self-esteem in a bottle. Family-values groups promise a return to "morality" if we just stop gay marriage. Anti-choice crusaders say abortion will stop if we close every clinic in the country. Simple answers to complex issues.

Our governor is selling us a magical, easy solution when it comes to what poor families, mostly single mothers, on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) need. He says the they need to be profiled as drug users, screened and drug tested. Why? To save the children, of course, because no child should be raised by a drug addict, especially not one getting "taxpayer dollars" (like lawmakers do, I might add). Simple answer to a complex issue.

We all have heard the stereotype of the drug-addicted parents on welfare selling their benefits to use drugs and neglecting their children. I won't deny those things happen. It is also rare. That's why we have a system to deal with families in need and children who are neglected and abused.

Yet, rather than use the money to shore up the child-protective services budget, the governor is wasting it on a drug-testing program that is sure to be legally challenged--and fail as it has in Florida and Utah. One might think it's more politically beneficial to attack poor women and children since he doesn't have abortion as a wedge gravy-train issue to ride this session. This drug-testing issue gives all the illusion of getting work done, while doing nothing.

There are no simple fixes for poverty in our state. Yet, instead of coming up with a multifaceted comprehensive plan to help, Phil Bryant is feeding us bumper-sticker slogans and welfare-queen rhetoric. Unless his poverty-fighting plan is to increase jobs at the lab company, I fail to see how drug-testing TANF recipients creates jobs and moves our state forward.

I respect lawmakers who make tough choices, tell us things we sometimes don't want to hear and make long-term plans. I do not respect lawmakers passing themselves off as magical beings with simple solutions to complex issues.

Even children know fairy tales aren't true.

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Scott1962 8 years, 3 months ago

You are exactly right and this is the very reason I have finally had enough of the republican party. I am a conservative Christian but I'm not a stupid one and these little campaigns waged by both elected officials and candidates of the republican party insult me. Mississippi has so many problems I wouldn't even know where to begin, but these are the kind of things we hear about our government doing. Or "violent crime" swat teams to man areas like the gestapo, and what areas do they specify? The gang neighborhoods. Right now there's a bill in the house to make statutory rape a death penalty offense. If an 18 year old has consensual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend it would be punishable by death. What the drug testing thing and the violent crime thing have in common is that they imply keeping us safe from the evil black man and not allowing him to take our hard earned tax dollars. The statutory rape law brings to mind uneducated toothless rednecks preying on the daughters of good people

What's really scary is the drug testing law was obviously done without any form of research if their goal was truly to make drug addicted parents go straight. The truth is such a law would have but one effect and that would be to increase crime. Any idiot with half a brain knows that a drug addict is going to get drugs and people are going to eat and they will get the money required whether it comes in the form of welfare or they have to go rob people to get it. I've listened to clueless republicans my whole life bitch about welfare and crime as being the two big problems in this world without ever stopping to realize that the two are mutually exclusive. Phil Bryant makes me sick. Phil Bryant is an embarrassment to any conservative Christian living in this state because his motives and means are so incredibly obvious and it looks like we fell for it. Give'em Jesus and swat teams and they'll elect you every time. Never trust a man who looks like he hasn't had a fun day in his entire life


multiculturegirl37 8 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for your feedback and you are right. I haven't read the statutory rape bill but there are so many bad bills this year that I am having trouble keeping track of them all.

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