When all you have is a hammer—i.e., a billion-dollar fossil fuel industry that’s been intimately tied to your political career for years—every problem starts to look like a nail. That’s the takeaway that former Texas governor and current Secretary Of Energy Rick Perry left us with this week, when he proposed a novel solution to ending sexual assault in Africa: Burn more oil, folks!
This is per The Hill’s Timothy Cama, who transcribed comments Perry made earlier today during a public conversation about energy policy. Perry—who didn’t bother breaking down the massive continent and its 1.2 billion inhabitants by silly little distinctions like “countries”—finished his remarks by stating that he believes that widespread electricity (and, specifically, fossil fuel-based power) is the only way to stop African women from being raped, an assertion that’s seemingly belied by the massive number of women who are assaulted every year in perfectly well-lit rooms.
“When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts” Perry said, mixing in a little bit of good-old religious pulpit-slapping into his remarks. The former Texas governor has been widely blasted today for his continent-shaming comments, and the way they put the onus of preventing sexual assault on public infrastructure—and buying into an industry which is hugely profitable in his native state—instead of, say, on the men who actually choose to commit these violent acts.