I Thought Older Was Wiser?

AP photo-Saxby Chambliss

AP photo-Saxby Chambliss

Those who are working to educate and eliminate sexual assault and rape in this country and around the globe got an unexpected opportunity this week from Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss to remind people how important it is to understand the issue of violence. And Chambliss gave them several chances to segue from his comments to educational correctness.

On Tuesday, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault in the military he said “The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side……But guys, we are not doing our job. You’re not doing yours, and we are not doing ours with the rates we are seeing on sexual assaults.”

It was not as horrendous as Missouri’s Republican Candidate for Senate, Todd Akin, but should that really be the bar? One would have thought that knowing the subject of the hearing and the huge misstep of his Republican colleague he would have been more cautious if not sensitive to the issue. But I don’t think preparation for the hearing was the biggest problem since his explanation for why he made the comments solidified his misunderstanding or caviler disregard for what sexual assault really means. He said, “There are old men sitting in the United States Senate who are seventy or seventy-five or eighty,” he said. “Gee whiz, the declining levels of brain function created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

“It’s always a good thing when a Republican brings up a more nuanced view of rape. If my memory serves, that’s been a winning issue for us in the past,” he said.

You decide what you think of these statements. Some of us are living for the day when those with declining levels of brain function will stay home rather than serving their country in the Congress of the United States.



  1. Perhaps Chambliss has more in common with Broun, Gingrey, and Price than we knew. I discussed that on my blog here http://ruralandprogressive.org/move-over-broun-price-and-gingrey/.