Episode 72 - I need you to focus

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Transcript, Web links and Credits below.


Today I have two stories to share. One you know and the other you probably don’t.

First — I need us to pause, exhale a bit, and revisit the fact that the President of the United States directly inspired the deadliest hate crime in our nation since 1921. Don’t move on. I need you to linger there. I’m going to unpack and explain why I think Trump should be held criminally liable for it.

Then, in the midst of all of this, something beautiful happened last night in Jackson, Mississippi, and I can’t wait to share the good news. And then tell you how we can duplicate this all over the country.

This is Shaun King and you are listening to (The Breakdown)!


It’s hard to stay focused in 2019. I sincerely think it’s one of the biggest struggles of our age. Let me tell you what I mean.

One of the questions I get asked a lot when I travel and speak is, “Shaun — is the world truly worse, is police brutality worse, are hate crimes worse, are mass shootings worse, or does social media just give us more information — coming at us from every angle — and we just think it’s worse?”

And my answer is, “It’s both.”

Police brutality and mass incarceration are the worst they’ve ever been. Hate crimes are the highest they’ve ever been measured. Last year was the most school shootings ever measured. Last year was the deadliest year for gun violence ever measured. We’re not imagining that. It’s math. It’s fact. It feels so hard, because we are living in a truly problematic, dangerous, hateful era.

But, social media absolutely allows us to be hyper informed, of every problem, every moment, every murder, every incident, every single day. Things are actually, literally worse than they’ve ever been in our lifetime AND social media makes us aware of it all.

And you’re not imagining it.

And we are experiencing something new, something more disturbing than I ever could’ve imagined. Donald Trump, a man without a single day of government experience, a man whose businesses have gone bankrupt six different times, a man who was forced to pay a $25 million fraud settlement to students of a fake university he created just days before he was elected, a man who called for the Central Park Five to be executed, a man cited by the federal government all the way back in 1973 for race-based housing discrimination, a man with at least 15 women accusing him of sexual assault and harassment, a man with repeated failed marriages, a man whose political claim to fame was literally saying that President Barack Obama was actually illegitimate because he wasn’t born in this country, a man who literally started his campaign for president by calling Mexicans “rapists and criminals.” A man who three months later said he wanted to “ban all Muslims” from entering the United States.

A man that is widely beloved and celebrated by current and former Grand Wizards of the KKK. A man beloved by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists not just in the United States but all around the world.

A man that called Africa a place full of sh*thole countries. A man that just last month said he wanted four congresswomen of color to go back to the countries they came from. A man who basked in the glory of a 13 second chant 2 weeks ago of thousands of his supporters chanting, “Send Her Back!” about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

That man — and all of his hate and all of his words — directly inspired the slaughter of 22 people in El Paso, Texas this weekend. We learned this week that the Trump campaign literally flooded Facebook with 2,200 different ads saying that Mexicans and other immigrants were invading the United States. All 2,200 ads literally used the word “invasion.” And guess what? That’s the very thing that the white supremacist terrorist in Texas said inspired him to drive 700 miles across the state to stop “the invasion.” He literally said he was there to stop “the invasion.” On Monday, you may remember the man that was being called the MAGA Bomber, Cesar Sayoc, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for mailing bombs to Democrats all over the country. His attorneys literally said he did so because he believed Trump’s words when he called those people the enemies of this nation. Trump is getting people killed.

And when I say it is hard to stay focused, I mean it’s hard to keep up with all of the trauma and all of the pain and all of the lies and all of the bigotry and all of the murders. We just can’t keep up. And I’m a feeler. I take all of this pain personally. And many of you do too. And it’s too much.

And the net effect of this is that it can be hard to stay focused enough on one issue — focused enough to organize on that issue and sustain your organizing until you see change. I mean real change. Because while you are organizing on one catastrophic issue another disaster strikes, and another, then another, and another.

But I need you, I want you to focus in with me today. In just a moment I have several bits of really good news to share with you, but I need you to understand something, ok?

When we say we need to fight like our lives depend on it — it’s because they actually do. They literally depend on us focusing, hunkering down, and organizing like we’ve never organized before.

And I’m telling you, we can all fight to defeat Trump and kick him out of the Oval Office, but I need us to focus on a place where we not only hold him accountable, but a place where we need political control for us to get anything of substance done.

On this coming Monday, we are launching HowWeFlipTheSenate.com. It’s going to be the biggest, most ambitious project I’ve ever worked on in my life. And I hope that it will be the biggest, most organized, most ambitious project YOU have ever worked on in your life.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do so now at HowWeFlipTheSenate.com today. Please donate today. Because we are about to organize deeply and we need you on board, ok?

So here’s the good news.

Last night in Jackson, Mississippi, a brilliant, gifted, compassionate leader, a young man named Jody Owens, was just elected to be their brand new District Attorney. And Jody is going to change the justice system from the inside out there in Hinds County. In the entire history of the state of Mississippi — they’ve never had a man like Jody Owens as DA.

Many of the leaders who help us run Real Justice are going to be on board to help us Flip The Senate. And so far, we’ve won 9 different campaigns for District Attorney all over the country — deep in Mississippi, in St. Louis, all over Virginia, in California, in Boston, in Philadelphia, and deep in Texas.

We’ve done this before. We know how to organize and we know to win.

Now, we just need you on board.

We launch on Monday, but you can sign up now at HowWeFlipTheSenate.com.

Let’s GO!


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Take care everybody.



Produced by Willis Polk II

Additional Instrumentation by Christian “Idrys” Shannon & Lance "Lance Fury" Powlis

Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library

Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush & Jason Coffey

Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg