Home » NEWS » Economic Development » Coopwood to MBJ: Gov. Bryant’s comments taken out of context

Coopwood to MBJ: Gov. Bryant’s comments taken out of context


Scott Coopwood

Let’s take a closer look at Gov. Phil Bryant’s comments he made a couple of weeks ago when he responded to the question, “How did America get so mediocre?” As we all know, Bryant has been demonized by the liberal press for his response… well, the part of his response on which they chose to focus because it served their purpose in being able to define him as “ the type of conservative who boxes women into a corner with mixed messages,” as one Jackson publication put it. Bryant said, “You know, I think both parents started working, and the mom is in the workplace.” That’s the fragment, which was extricated from the remainder of his response and started the firestorm. Bryant continued on with many clarifying statements, saying, “That’s not a bad thing….They’re pursuing their careers. It’s a great American story now, that women are certainly in the workplace.” And, ”I think there was that loving, nurturing opportunity – that both parents had a little more time.” He goes on to describe his own childhood and in an era when Bryant says both parents had more time, and compares that era to today, where he acknowledges, “In today’s society, parents are so challenged. Not just the mom, but the mom and dad. They’re working overtime. They’re trying to balance both of them in the workplace.”

Bryant was being unfairly judged in this. As much or more was said about “both parents” as it was about mothers. Bryant’s own wife, Deborah, worked outside the home for years. He does not seem to be arguing here over the fact that women have had to work, often out of necessity, to help provide for their families. However, Bryant is pointing to the connection between parental involvement and the well being of the children. He is pointing to the vitally important position women have in our families and society. Surely, no one could argue that the decline in education and in our culture in general is related, to a great degree, to the drastic changes in the stability of the family unit over the past several decades. Having a mother and a father. Having a Mother and Father who understand the sacrifice it takes to raise children well, even when both parents work outside of the home.

There are many people, many women, who would agree that the most important place a woman can be is in the home caring for and nurturing their families. They would agree, if this were financially possible, that this is a place of honor for her, not a position of being “subservient” as we all read so often.

I believe Governor Bryant would agree with this. I believe his comments reflected a concern for the American family, not a disdain for women who work, whether by choice or necessity.

» Scott Coopwood is owner and publisher of the Delta Business Journal, Delta Magazine, and The Cleveland Current, based in Cleveland, Mississippi. He can be reached at scott@coopwood.net.


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


  1. Well said, Scott! I posted a link to this article on Katherine Wintsch’s article on the Huff Post. Let’s see if they allow it to post!

  2. John Van Landeghem

    I’m a conservative and passionate about K-12 public education reform. His comments were not taken out of context – he’s simply out-of-touch with reality on this and many other issues (e.g., economic development). Show me one – just one – peer-reviewed research study that shows education decline in the US is associated with women at work. Among the world’s best education systems, women at work is the norm. Given his misguided beliefs, I wonder what he’ll recommend at the next legislative session to solve this “perceived” problem? Reforming our State’s inadequate public education system will take bold leadership and initiatives. At the moment, our Governor hasn’t any clue, and we’ll spin our wheels for the next 3-7 years while he’s in office. Many other conservatives share my view, but they haven’t the backbone to express themselves publicly, as it’s not politically correct. Enough of this nonsense; let’s confront the brutal facts!

  3. John Van Landeghem

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including our Governor, Scott, Madge (and me!). So, kindly remove my post/response to Scott’s opinion piece. Thanks!

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