Matt Gaetz is a model avatar for the Republican Party’s manic culture war. As a far-right reactionary currently under investigation for sex crimes, he checks several boxes of hypocrisy so often seen among the GOP’s moral crusaders. It makes sense, then, that he delivered the best encapsulation of the socially conservative right’s response to pro-choice protests now sweeping the country.
“How many of the women rallying against overturning Roe are over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no bumble matches?” Gaetz asked on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
The core of the argument is familiar: feminists are unhappy shrews, and only conservative women are happy and have families. Conservatives looking for quick clout have been adopting this mantra for years in an effort to virtue-signal their support for “traditional” values and demean their political opponents. Early resistance to Donald Trump’s presidency, like the 2017 Women’s March, inspired a similar rash of boorish or sexist posts by GOP officials, likely inspired by the former president’s long history of misogynistic remarks. Sexism in the Republican Party isn’t new or particularly revelatory; the GOP made limiting the rights of women a de facto policy for years before Trump took power. But as the modern culture war intensifies, it’s clear that unvarnished sexism will be a common bedrock conservatives like Gaetz fall back on.
Gaetz’s tweet hits several familiar notes. “Over-educated” invokes the specter of “Marxist” colleges. He references “millennials” to pander to boomers who think the generation they sabotaged is weak and pretentious. “Lonely microwave dinner with their cats” derisively refers to feminists as undesirable. It’s extremely basic stuff, but like most of the GOP’s other smooth-brained social platforms, it plays because it conveniently helps onlookers treat street protests like the irrational actions of an irrelevant minority, allowing them to discount the participants as human beings whose opinions and experiences matter.
The tweet has been roundly criticized since Gaetz fired it off Wednesday morning. The right has long been working to turn such criticism of their rampant sexism on its head. In an early-April rally in North Carolina, for instance, Trump claimed that a GOP-led Congress would “end the woke war on women and children,” using the right-wing’s current hobbyhorse of gender identity panic and concern over left-wing indoctrination in public schools to claim that it was the left, not the right, that was attacking the freedoms of women, characterized as “parental rights” and “parental choice.”
Gaetz’s tweet, then, is an easy gateway to all these issues. Social causes like abortion, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice are flattened into one bogeyman of “CRT-Marxism-Trans,” promoted by antifa witches and ugly, depressed feminists who don’t fit into the conservative family ideal. This will be the gameplan as a new protest movement takes to the streets: reduce what people are actually protesting for — safe access to abortions — into a familiar enemy their base is used to hating. It doesn’t matter that many of these causes are overwhelmingly popular in the U.S. Gaetz and the GOP know that the structural power swings their way, and that all they have to do is sneer at the people trying to change who’s in charge.
“Rent for a two-bedroom apartment runs about $4,000 monthly “and that’s for one that isn’t even nice.” That about says it all. How are you going to attract the odd-ball, dirt-bag, seat-of-the-pants versifier, musician, malcontent, dreamer or protestor that Cal (Go Bears) so desperately needs.
yikes! my rent for the studio up Panoramic Way, with the view from The City to Mt. Tam and beyond
was $105 per month….low enough to support my life style at the “other end of the social spectrum”
It was the best of times
it was the worst of times
But Camp 4 and trips deep into the Sierra kept me sane….sort of,
“Seat-of-the-pants versifier.” Definitely not an economics major. Why, for example, doesn’t inflation just chug along at the same pace as the rise in the cost of living? Why is my comfy, garage-top, one-bedroom which ran me somewhere around $90/mo. now so far out of reach for a public university student?
Events in Berkeley during the 1960s set off what we now call the Free Speech Movement, but a 1969 clash between President Ronald Reagan and Berkeley activists is considered to be the pinnacle of the Vietnam War protest. Leading up to the clash, President Reagan had called Berkeley a breeding grounds for “sexual deviants, communist sympathizers, and protesters,” so he ordered California Highway Patrol and Berkeley Police officers to fence off People’s Park, an abandoned lot that anti-war protesters had turned into a volunteers grounds.
When those in Berkeley saw People’s Park blocked off, a riot broke out, with protesters chanting, “We want the park!” The riot turned violent when more than 800 police and National Guard officers began shooting tear gas canisters in the backs of protestors, beating people with nightsticks, and shooting (both pellets and bullets) into the crowd. All in all, 58 people were treated for injuries, 30 were hit by gunshots, and 12 were admitted to hospitals. The People’s Park Riots became known as Bloody Thursday.
New research showing the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and other psychedelics for mental health has spurred legalization efforts
It wasn’t just the painful tumors or medication that made Alan Floyd sick.
It was the idea that death could come at any time, a brutal fact of his condition that came to dominate his days and grew into night terrors during his sleep.
“It was this monstrous, impending doom of death hanging over me,” Floyd said.
But Floyd found a way to interrupt the cycle of rumination and fear by experimenting with “magic” mushrooms. He’s one of many patients and spiritual seekers in Colorado who have sought healing and relief from mushrooms and other psychedelic substances, despite a federal prohibition.
Although recent research showing the healing potential of these drugs has spurred renewed interest, mushrooms and naturally derived psychedelics like mescaline, ibogaine and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, have been used by people for centuries. It’s only in the past 50 years that they were considered illegal.
Now advocates are hoping Colorado will join Denver and a growing number of cities and states that are decriminalizing mushrooms and other psychedelics. They’re working on initiatives that, if approved for the November ballot, would ask voters to eliminate criminal penalties under state law for possession, use and cultivation of certain psychedelic substances.
The statewide effort comes after psychedelic drug advocates successfully passed a 2019 Denver measure that decriminalized adult possession and use of psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in so-called magic mushrooms, and made it the lowest priority for local law enforcement. But disagreements are forming already among advocates backing the effort, who remain divided over what statewide decriminalization should entail.
Kevin Matthews, a proponent of Denver’s 2019 decriminalization measure, is pushing initiatives to create a regulatory system that would allow people 21 and older to seek psychedelic therapy at state-sanctioned centers.
“They’re not a panacea,” Matthews said. “But I think we have an opportunity to powerfully treat a lot of mental health conditions.”
Four initiatives have been approved by the state Title Board, and advocates are debating which one to petition onto the statewide ballot in November. Another camp of activists has put forward their own measure, which is still under review, that would decriminalize mushrooms and three other psychedelics without calling for further state regulations.
The move to decriminalize magic mushrooms in Colorado comes as Denver and jurisdictions across the U.S. have enacted laws to legalize use of psychedelic substances.
In 2020, Oregon voters passed measures legalizing psilocybin-assisted therapy at state-sanctioned centers and personal possession of small amounts of certain drugs. Voters in Washington, D.C., also passed an initiative decriminalizing possession of naturally derived psychedelics.
Advocates in California are gathering signatures for a decriminalization initiative for the November ballot.
Shannon Hughes, an associate professor of social work at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, said that, outside of studies and clinical trials, underground guides have long been helping people access psychedelics to treat health issues, explore their spirituality and experiment recreationally. Hughes serves on the board of a Colorado group that promotes safe exploration of psychedelics.
“There are folks who have been doing this work for a very long time, but because it’s underground, they can’t really talk about their experience without fear of criminal risk,” Hughes said. “All we get access to is how it’s getting medicalized.”
In the 14 years since doctors told Floyd that he was unlikely to survive the large tumors growing on his spine, some which divide his spinal column and are too dangerous to remove, he tried 16 psychiatric drugs and opioid painkillers to treat his pain and distress.
The now 57-year-old Colorado resident credits illicit psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD for showing him how to cope with his illness. The Colorado Sun is using a pseudonym for Floyd because possession and use of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances remain illegal under federal law.
“It helps me to look at those thoughts in the face and realize, that’s serving me no purpose at all,” Floyd said.
Recent scientific studies and clinical trials are showing psilocybin and other psychedelics have the potential to treat serious depression, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues.
Psilocybin and other psychedelics were previously studied in the 1950s and 1960s as treatment for alcoholism and other health issues. But as recreational use and stigma surrounding the substances grew, several states banned their use, eventually culminating with the Controlled Substances Act in 1971.
In addition to psilocybin, Colorado advocates are working to decriminalize three other psychedelics derived from plants: ibogaine, mescaline (which is found in peyote) and DMT. All are still considered Schedule I drugs, the strictest federal designation, meaning they are considered by the government to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment.
But that classification has also hampered widespread medical research, meaning researchers and the public have a limited glimpse into the benefits and other effects of these substances.