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Pleasantville and the St. Pete Pride Parade

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

It just so happened that I was reading this article about religious protesters marching through the crowd at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride festival at the same time I was watching the movie Pleasantville, a “kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent.”

I can’t help but draw a comparison between the ignorant trouble-makers that showed up to protest the Pride Festival and the reactionary characters in the movie Pleasantville that harangue the progressive protagonists.

I mean, when are these religious conservatives going to accept their brothers and sisters into their society. Because it has to happen. One way or the other, society cannot continue to deny equal rights to a minority group just because the majority, if that, disagrees with their lifestyle.

To show up at a positive event like the St. Pete Pride festival and scream: “You’re a sodomite! You’re filthy! You need Jesus Christ!” as one of the protesters did yesterday is as shameful as when the racist cops sicked the dogs on blacks in the Jim Crow era.

Those protesters had no reason to be at the Pride Festival other than to spread hate. I don’t even understand why the police protected the protesters. Free speech does not include antagonizing a crowd to the point of reactive violence, just as you cannot enter a movie theatre and yell ‘fire’. Perhaps it was because Mayor Rick Baker opposes the Pride Festival (Baker has never attended the pride festival and has said in the past he doesn’t support its general agenda) that the police were there to support Baker’s ideological allies.

I hope the people that discriminate against gays and lesbians understand that 30 years from now they will feel as horrible about what they did as segregationistists feel now about how they treated our black brethren.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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