A new kind of convoy just dropped, this one calling itself the “Patriot Convoy.” It managed to block traffic to the entrance of one of Disney World’s exterior shopping areas in Florida for a few hours over the weekend in support for a bill that has already been signed into law.
They should probably be careful however, as blocking traffic as an act of protest is a felony in Florida.
In classic Convoy fashion, the people peacocking on social media and claiming victory thought they’d shut down the whole park by blocking the back entrance to a shopping area called Disney Springs, which is mainly used by locals.
“Just did a blockade,” is definitely getting folded into my lexicon. As folks pointed out on social media, this blockade didn’t really put a snag in anyone’s day nor in the Magic Kingdom’s epic money grab, except maybe for folks who were visiting Disney for the first time. In which case, congrats on caring for the kids so much you ruined a few of their once-in-a-lifetime vacations.
This is all over the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill that was signed into law on March 28. Once a bill becomes a law, there really isn’t much more for supporters to do, but I guess it’s nice to “do a blockade” and get it out of your system. Disney, one of the largest employers in the state, was silent at first on the bill, and then its CEO mildly came out against it, the backlash from the bill’s supporters was frothing and immediate.
The law bans any discussion of gender and sexuality in grades kindergarten to third grade (which could conceivably include discussion of any straight relationships as well, but let’s be real, we all know what they’re talking about) and also requires schools to “notify” parents before any health screenings or support services can be provided in any grade level. This law could and likely will be used to force teachers to out LGBTQ+ students seeking mental health services to their parents. I don’t have to tell you that parents are often non-conforming kids’ biggest bullies. As LGBTQ+ kids have high rates of suicide and depression, this bill could likely go on to bring real suffering and possibly violence in the home to Florida kids.
But no one cares about protection those kids, or the kids who just wanted to go to Disney World and put the horrible world they’re going to inherit on the back burner for just a few hours with Mickey.
The Patriot Convoy is likely under zero threat of arrest with this weak stunt, but if they tried to actually shut down access to the Magic Kingdom, they could be charged with a felony. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sign a law in 2021 that turned blocking traffic and roadways by protesters into a felony. The law was in response to Black Lives Matter protests of course, and isn’t really enforced when its protests DeSantis supports, like when Cuban protesters shut down the Palmetto Expressway for hours last July. According to Local 10 News:
“I think people understand the difference between going out and peacefully assembling, which is obviously people’s constitutional right,” DeSantis said on a day when South Floridians stood in solidarity with Cuban citizens’ protests by taking to the Palmetto Expressway and closing it down for hours.
Like many of DeSantis’ extremist laws, we all know who he’s actually talking about, and it’s not straight people with Republican leanings.