I wrote the first political self-help book, here’s why

In this excerpt from the Growth Now Movement, podcast host Justin Schenck interviews Peter Montoya about his latest book The Second Civil War. He starts by asking about his personal motivation to have written this book, and then the conversation steers towards the increased importance of politics in our lives and how the current media landscape exacerbates our political anxiety.

I had mentioned earlier, you talk about we’re in the second civil war.


And I asked you this question before I hit record. You’re like, you should hit record. So what’s obviously being such a successful entrepreneur and speaker and all the things? What made you go down this rabbit hole of figuring out why we’re in the Second World War right now?


And what does that even mean?


Yeah, it was because, you know, I was it so maybe about two years ago, my father in law, who I love and respect greatly, he is an incredible human being. I respect him so much. Was sending out, you know, once a week email, political email about the candidate he liked.


And usually I would delete them. But this one day, two years ago, I hit reply and I replied with the nastiest snarkiest most hurtful thing I could possibly say. And I remember in the moments before hitting the send button is, should I send this?


And I thought, you know what? He deserves it. It is completely justified. What I said was true. And he deserves to get popped, popped. And so I pushed the send button. But 24 hours later, I was going, you know, something’s not sitting right.


I went back and reread the email. I was like, oh, my God. Who sent this? Who is possessed enough to have said these nasty, horrible things to someone who they like and respect? So I called him up.


I asked him to dinner. He was furious with me. My trust and credibility had dropped to zero with him. Honestly, accurately. So I did a mea culpa. I apologized. I listened to him yell at me and said, you’re right.


You’re right, you’re right. And then I began this exploration to figure out why did I do that? Why do I have friends and family who all have either damaged and or lost relationships over politics? Why is this happening?


Yeah, and I mean, I think it’s at its greatest point right now. Right. Like it is constant divide. If you’re not with me, you’re against me. You know, whatever happened to the you, you know, don’t talk about religion.


Don’t talk about politics.




And don’t talk about money. Right. The three things you’re supposed to talk about. What was the shift in the world, you think, where people all automatically started spouting like, my information is the greatest information.


I’m right. You’re wrong. Where did that even begin?


So here’s the challenge for us as human beings is all leadership, all Problem-Solving, all creativity starts with a common understanding of the facts. So, Justin, when you and your team have a business problem, either you get on a zoom call or is it get in a room and you go, OK, what’s happening?


And you hear from everybody to understand what’s happening and then you start solving the problem. But what the media has done is let’s just I’m oversimplifying it has cleaved itself into two different ecosystems. Each ecosystem has a different information set.


And so we’re all hearing about the problems in the world. We’re all being told the other side is to blame for the problem. We’re all being told the other side is taking advantage of us. And that’s the information that we’re being pumped in.


So everything is happening through a political lens anymore. I mean, notice what is politics now? He knows what’s coming. The ice storm in Texas was a political story. Yeah. 20 years ago, there was just… it was a news event.


It was weather. And now it’s been politicized. Everything is now politicized. And so we’re being pumped full of this. We have friends and family who we think don’t agree with us. And so when we come to have these conversations, we come with this full charge of.


There are people out there hurting the country and we’re taking advantage of me. And you better not be one of them. That’s how we’re walking into those conversations based on our media consumption and based on the frustration that we need to agree on reality or to solve problems.


Yeah. You know, I love the fact that you said we’re politicizing everything, right? Like an ice storm in Texas becomes a political thing. A worldwide pandemic has become a political thing.


We have four or five…. Simone decided to jump out of the Olympics and not compete. That was a political. How did we politicize everything? And everything is politicized is personal.


Yeah. And so what is your take on that? Why do you think that’s happening right now within our media? Is it for ratings? Is it for power?


Yeah. So first of all, let me define media. So when I say media, I’m not just talking about the five big cable news channels and ABC, NBC and CBS. When I say media, I mean that term really broadly.


So that includes cable TV, Internet, TV, podcasts, radio, newspapers, online articles, media even includes the TV on an elevator, the TV. On a gas pump. So media books. Any way that you consume content. Now, some of that content is really good.


It’s fact driven. And what it helps us do is learn, empathize more with what’s happening in the world. And that’s really good. And it’s also a segment… a lot of media, which basically has come to learn


the best way to get our attention is through fear and outrage. So fear and outrage are incredibly addictive. So we get addicted to being scared, into being angry. And there are people going up. Peter, while you’re not talking about me, you’re talking about someone else.


And I could be talking to you and you may not even realize it. So there are people who go on a complete news blackout. They stop watching the news and they, you know, around nine o’clock at night, they start twitching, kind of like Inspector Clouseau you know, what’s going on?


And I didn’t really watch my hate porn today, which I’m right now the kind of feeling a little anxious because they don’t know they’re not informed anymore. And that’s probably a good indication that you have been… you’re addicted to media.


So what media realizes is the very best way to get our attention is your fear or outrage. They know that the more scared we are, the more likely we are to to tune in and give them our attention when they have our attention.


They sell more advertising. When they sell more advertising, they make more money. And their market cap market shares, their capitalization goes up. And you’re saying, Peter, are you telling me that the major news companies are that naked in their ambitions, that naked and that all they’re doing is dividing us, teaching Americans to hate other Americans just so


they can make money? Yes. And they know they’re doing it.


Yeah. I mean, I watched a hidden camera conversation with one of the higher ups and CNN, and he stated, if it bleeds, it leads. It’s why we don’t show necessarily the facts or the positive side of what’s happening in the world right now.


And it’s really kind of sickening to understand that that’s happening. And there are so many people, including family members of mine, who are drawn in and sucked in and addicted to the news. And they refuse to listen to any other opinion or refuse any any other like perspective.


Then then what is the news telling them that it is. And so I just feel like. Me and my girlfriend talk about this often. You know, I feel like. It’s reached a boiling point right now, especially in the last year and a half, two years, I’ve never seen it like this before in my life, just the


easiness to attack. And obviously on social media, it makes it easier because you have the screen in front of you to protect you and you’re going to get popped in the mouth like like you said earlier. But what do you think is driving it up even more?


Am I wrong by saying it’s gotten worse or is it like is that just my perspective? Because I’m whatever. But like what’s driving it even more now beyond the media?


Well, is it not only that it’s done in the media, it’s also politicians. So whenever you are watching it, consuming any kind of content and that content is vilifying another American, would it be an American person or a group?


So they say, you know, the Republicans or the Democrats or the socialist or this minority group, if they are making the capturing your attention by vilifying another American. You got to know that they are doing something deeply unpatriotic.


So there is evil in the world and there’s even evil in this country. But I’m telling you right now, it’s probably in the tens of thousands of people that are evil. It isn’t a whole party. It’s not a whole group of people.


The only reason, if you believe that half the country is evil, you are a pawn on someone’s chessboard made to believe that way. Reality is a construct. And your reality has been constructed by people who want you to vilify half of the Americans.


That’s all there is to it. Now, who are the people who are really evil? They are psychopaths who are murderous and want to kill and rape people. Those are the ones who are really evil and irredeemable. There probably is tens of thousands or maybe 100000 in the country maybe.


And most likely they’re locked up. The rest of Americans are all agreeing to the same social contract that you and I agree to. What’s the social contract? Go get an education. Be honest. Work for your living. Do your best to


take care of yourself and your family. Be willing to sacrifice something for the benefit of your fellow Americans. Do what’s in the best interest your country. Ninety percent of Americans believe in this. So the narrative that there is this group of Americans who is trying to exploit you or take something away from you.


That is a narrative that’s been manufactured to make you believe that’s half the country. It is not. It is a minority of the country.


If you are more committed to national unity than partisanship, please check out my book, The Second Civil War: A Citizen’s Guide to Healing Our Fractured Nation. My book will challenge you to improve your relationships with friends and family. Click the link in the description below.