Is our country close to a point of no return?
In this excerpt from the Growth Now Movement, podcast host Justin Schenck interviews Peter Montoya and asks whether our political division is reaching a point of no return and they discuss practical approaches to the news that you can deploy to be better informed.
I’d love to know where your thoughts are and your feelings are on where this country is actually headed. I know that you’re trying to be a voice to heal us and bring us together, but. Are we close to a point of no return?
It’s a great question, and thankfully all I have is speculation. So where we get really it gets really, really scary are two places, and number one is violence. So our country, our government, one of the best things our government ever did was create laws.
So they had a monopoly of nonviolence. So the only one who can legally commit violence in very, very narrow ways is the United States. They can do that through the military and or can do so through law enforcement.
And the reason that’s such a good idea is that we as human beings are incredibly vengeful. So there’s a reason why they call it a cycle of violence or a cycle of vengeance, because Justin, if you hurt me, I’m going to come back and hurt you harder.
And then you hurt me harder. And before you know it were blows, we instantly will ratchet up the violence. So any acts of violence, which we will see in the coming years, there’s it’s bubbling up beneath the surface.
And I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but violence is not a solution. It does not help. You will not win your side. And if you look at any of the institution, any of the people who committed violence, the Taliban in 2001 did further their cause.
I’m sorry, Taliban and al Qaeda in 2001 to further their cause. Nope. The 1996 Oklahoma bomber. Did his violence help him? The people who blew up abortion clinics back in the early 1990s. Did any of those causes get furthered by violence?
No, it never works, ever. It makes us feel it’s going to work. It doesn’t work. So violence is the one thing that I worry about. And the second thing I worry about is elections. So if we had the only thing that’s, you know, having a free, fair and accountable election is incredibly important.
And if we continue down this path where we’re voting and we don’t trust the outcome of our elections, that’s where things get really bad, because ultimately we are in this democracy, because we trust our elections, that the people who are in power are in power.
I mean, democracy is the worst form of government only compared to except when compared to all the others.
You’re right. They’re all terrible. I was going to say, well, what what’s better? I don’t know.
You know, the only thing that’s better is if I have all the power and I mean that. So, Peter, that is the only system that’s better than democracy is if I have all the power. And you’re looking at me going, well, Peter, I don’t that’s not better for me.
OK, then the next best thing is no one no one person has all the power. We have all the power. So democracy, where we agree and believe in, are free and fair elections that are accountable. If we stop believing in those, that would be the end of our country.
It isn’t that we don’t have borders. It isn’t that we don’t have a court system. The capstone of our democracy is having free and fair, accountable elections that we believe in. And if we stop having that, that’s when we start seeing the fall of our country.
Yeah, no, I agree. And I mean, unfortunately, I’m seeing it more and more with every passing election, you know, and you go back to the Declaration of Independence and what this country was founded on is a dated shirred state.
It was written a long, long time ago. But at the same time, you know, the we the people. Right. And when we’re not being served, we must do we must come together and do something about it. I’m paraphrasing.
That’s how they want to spend twenty twenty one. But with that being said, I think you’re spot on. It’s terrifying. And we have to we have to make a change. And so I do want to ask you about one more thing, which is I’ve noticed an uptick in division and judgment and hate and all the things when
Covid became a part of this entire landscape. And I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories of where it came from, the white hash and all the things. But they’re certainly using it as a tool to divide us.
Do you think that this is just out of my own damn curiosity? Do you think they’re purposely using it as a tool or do they do you think that they both think that they have their right with what they’re saying?
Yes, so we say both, I mean, there’s not only… They’re both political parties, they’re just political actors. There is media. There’s media personalities, and they will use anything that will get them attention as a way of division.
So any time they can say the other side is crazy, the other side is wrong, the other side is trying to take something away from you, whether it be your freedom or your ability to choose or your physical safety.
They are basically taking the credibility and trust that you may have of the other organization and they’re heaping it onto themselves. So they are using fear mongering as a way of getting more attention to either get more followers, sell more advertising and exploit.
They are exploiting the situation for their own benefit. And I will not consume any media that vilifies another American or another American group. Period. End of story.
Yeah. So where do you go for your for your news? Because I like I try my best to do the same. But but I find myself, you know, both. And again, it doesn’t make me feel a certain way, because I’m sure if I’m sure if I stayed down that lane, I’d feel a certain way.
So where do you go to find your news?
It’s a great question. I don’t. I don’t consume any news. So I stopped consuming any news back in January and I couldn’t be happier. And so people say, well, Peter, how do you stay informed? Well, it turns out the more news you can serve, you consume.
And this has been shown in study after study after study. The more news you consume, the more misinformed you are, not informed, misinformed you are. So I don’t consume any news. And I still believe you also get to consider what’s news.
And the only thing that’s news to me or things that are actually in my area of control or things that help me make better decisions. So what is news to me on a given day? The weather. Sometimes the traffic, if anybody is going to attack, like there is an invading army or maybe there was a riot, that
would be news to me. Help me make a better decision. I mean, what else? The pandemic. That was news to me. You know what? I should wear a mask. That that was news to me. That was information that I could use.
And if you take away everything that’s not that that the majority of what people think is news is. It’s not news. It is news but it isn’t really news to you. It doesn’t help you change the decisions you make.
So people tell me those things. They do. I mean, it’s really important. They say, hey, did you hear that Afghanistan fell and the Taliban took over? And I go, right. My whole goal is I want to be informed, not influence.
I now know that Afghanistan fell. It’s awful, by the way. Horrible, horrible, horrible. But probably in a month or two, I will find a long form article on it or a long video that’s been written two or three months afterwards that will actually go in depth and explain what happened.
But I’ll wait for the retrospective. Two or three months from now. So I know the headline, Afghanistan fell. There’s nothing I can do about it. Really. I guess I could send some money to the American Red Cross. It’ll probably be a Doctors Without Borders who are probably taking care of refugees.
But beyond that, you know, whose fault is it? I have no interest in that conversation. I don’t. Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. So people who care go, well, yeah, it means I’m going to vote for this party. Great.
You can know that without being frothy about it, without knowing spending five hours or 10 hours in front of the TV. So the answer is, I will read about it probably or watch a documentary about it and probably six months and find out what was the understorey that usually will interview the inside players, the generals, the policymakers
in Afghan oftentimes even interview the actual Taliban. So somebody will and they’ll post that in six months or maybe a year I’ll read a book. But what most people call news. It’s not news. I can get the weather off an app on my phone.
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