Lance Berkman says tolerance is bad, claims he has been “persecuted”

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As we noted before the election, Lance Berkman cut some ads in favor of an ultimately successful campaign to defeat an anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston which would prohibit bias in housing, employment, city contracting and business services for 15 protected classes, including race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. Hundreds of cities have such ordinances.

Opponents of the ordinance had a number of legal and procedural objections to it based on how it was passed, its breadth and no small amount of political intrigue surrounding it over the previous couple of years, but the main rhetoric of the campaign didn’t focus on such things, probably because such things are complicated.

Rather, opponents latched on to the gender identity provision and centered their campaign around the notion that it would allow men to claim to be women, enter women’s restrooms and attack everyone’s wives and daughters. Really, that was the campaign. And that was the substance of the ads that Berkman cut. Such claims, by the way, are entirely fabricated as there have been zero reported cases of transgender people attacking people in bathrooms, locker rooms and the like. Rather than questions of legislative breadth or overreach, it was basically about vilifying transgender people and fear-mongering.

Following the defeat of the ordinance, Berkman gave an interview about it and about the feedback he received for his participation in the campaign, which he calls “digital persecution.” He went on:

To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything. You know, everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.

Lance Berkman was raised and trained to hit baseballs, not be an expert on theories of government so I don’t expect him to be a deft student of political theory. However even a basic understanding of civil society makes it clear that the “everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it” thing is what most people call “freedom” and “liberty” and the limits we place on that as a society are “unless they harm others.”

Berkman probably does know that much actually, as the ads he cut all attempted — quite desperately — to point out a harm (i.e. the safety of women and children) that he felt outweighed the freedoms involved (i.e. the right of people to assert a gender identity, have it recognized and to use public facilities like any other human being). Of course it’s a 100% invented harm, the likes of which have never been reported anywhere. But hey, better err on the paranoid side than to dare engage in such dastardly things as “tolerance.”

Beyond that, I think it’s safe to say that as a rich and famous person who is of the dominant race, gender and sexual orientation in our country and as a member of the majority religion in every place he’s ever lived, Lance Berkman has not suffered anything approaching “persecution” in his life, digital or otherwise. What he has experienced is what political scientists call “criticism,” and for that no one sheds any tears. Especially when the basis for such criticism is so very well-founded.

Rays place Austin Meadows on 10-day injured list with thumb sprain

Austin Meadows
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Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.

Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.

Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.

In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.