SHAUN KING: The Politicians We Hate Are the Politicians We Chose

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“There’s some people that aren’t worth saving.”

Those are the words of David Beth, County Sheriff of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man and father of six, was shot in the back seven times by police.

The people Beth is referring to, the ones he goes on to say need to be “put away for the rest of their lives,” are a few Black men and women suspected of shoplifting from a TJ Maxx. Beth didn’t make these blatantly racist statements in a secretly recorded conversation that was leaked by the press. He didn’t accidentally mutter these words without knowing that his mic was turned on. Beth made these premeditated statements at a press conference in 2018.

He knew what he was saying.

He genuinely believes the punishment for Black people shoplifting should be life in prison.

What I really want to emphasize here is that Beth is an open bigot who was chosen by the people of his county. He is an elected official, meaning he recieved enough votes to secure and maintain his position as Kenosha County Sheriff, the highest local law enforcement position one can hold.

With the November 3 election inching closer every single day, there is a huge push to get people to vote, especially those who haven’t previously. But telling people simply to vote is not enough. While the presidential election takes up most of the media spotlight, there are thousands of other positions being voted on.

Senator, district attorney, city council and many other powerful seats will be filled, and we are the ones who decide who fills those seats. People can’t just register to vote, they must be told exactly what they’re voting for, and what their options are. We must begin to recognize the weight our votes hold.

This means we can’t just vote by party. Democrats and Republicans alike are responsible for the gross injustices people in this country face on a daily basis. We can’t choose every Black nominee, or every female nominee, or decide by any other arbitrary affiliation, not when it comes to elections.

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun unpacks and explains how we must all rethink what it means to vote, and begin educating ourselves on exactly what and who we are voting for.