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For those who think that Jeb Bush might represent a more moderate option for the Republican Presidential candidate in 2016, think again. Many political commentators seem to think that he is moving into more moderate policy positions, including a more positive approach to immigration (which certainly has nothing to do with wanting to win the electoral votes from his state, Florida, where the rate of non-native born residents increased by over 40% from 2000 to 2013) is indicative of him being a candidate who can draw moderate independent voters and disenfranchised Democrats.
Unfortunately, Jeb Bush has a history of making some very sexist remarks, including some very discouraging statements about single mothers in a book published two years after his father left the same office he’s hinting he would like to run for. As The Huffington Post pointed out in a recent article. Jeb Bush’s work of non-fiction (co-authored by Brian Yablonski) entitled Profiles in Character including an entire chapter on his opinion that a lack of public shaming has led to an increase in single motherhood.
Yep, you just read that right: Jeb Bush believes that the way to fix the major issues in American society isn’t by education, investing in infrastructure, renewing citizen trust in the rule of law, demilitarizing police or ending the push to legislate morality, it’s to shame women who have babies out of wedlock. He references the book The Scarlet Letter, whose primary cultural criticisms seem to have gone right over his head, and uses the titular red letter worn (by only the woman involved in the affair) as an indicator that public shaming was once an important part of American society. He seems to ignore how one of the major issues the book deals with which is that public shaming is inevitably unfair to the women involved and not the men. He also referenced shotgun weddings as proof of the same, ignoring how many women have been beaten, raped and murdered by men forced to marry them under duress and how such a forced union could be damaging for all parties involved, including the child(ren).
In the book, in a chapter entitled “The Restoration of Shame,” he argues that policies intended to shame single mothers are important and beneficial to society.
“One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out-of-wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out-of-wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.”
While he was Governor of Florida, he enacted several policies that were intended to do exactly that: shame (primarily women) for having children while not married. Instead of vetoing the horrifying so-called “Scarlet Letter Law” when it crossed his desk in 2001, he signed the bill into law, ostensibly to force women who did not know the identity of their baby’s father to publish their sexual history in a local newspaper before they could give their child up for adoption. The law was opposed by many groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, and was ruled unconstitutional in Florida courts within 2 years of being enacted.
The law required women who had a child out-of-wedlock and wanted to give their child up for adoption to run ads in local newspapers where they believed conception may have taken place. The ads were required to contain their names, ages, physical descriptions (height, weight, race, hair and eye color) as well as the name of the child, its birthplace and a description of the man they believed was the father. The ad had to include a list of sexual encounters that may have produced the child,
including the date of the encounter and the location, and the ad had to be run at least once a week for a month before the adoption could proceed. There was no exception in the law for children conceived as an act of rape. The possible effects of this law are chilling, the law itself is discriminatory, and Jeb Bush’s decision to sign it into law is indicative of the kind of legislation he would likely support as President. After all, he only repealed this travesty of a law after the courts ruled it unconstitutional.
Jeb Bush does not currently hold office, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be a serious contender for the White House. After all, as a former governor, he has experience that could translate well to helping steer the direction of the United States. Unfortunately, it’s very questionable that he would steer this country in a positive, sane direction. The last thing this country needs is a leader who believes that women don’t deserve the same human rights and privacy as men.