Episode #27 - Narco Mindset Podcast - How can we become civil again? Part 1
Narco Mindset Podcast
How can we become civil again? Part 1
August 5, 2020
Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mindset Coach, Podcaster, and YouTuber
Show Notes: In this episode, Dr. Valdes talks about how we can not make people like us but we surely can make people respect us. He depicts his struggles coming to America and being discriminated against. How he had to work three times as hard just to be accepted and recognized. Yet, for Dr. Valdes working three times as hard did not make him Angry instead it made him better. We are living in hateful times and perhaps it is a great idea if we start a civility movement where a person calls an old friend or relatives and invites him/her to dinner if they live in the same town and spend a night talking about everything but politics, perhaps remembering what made them close friends, or if they are relative remembering the times growing up and fun shared together. If we live far away then let us use technology to have an hour of sharing wine and cheese or coffee, and do the same. Somehow we must go back to being civil again.
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TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE #27
INTRO: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Today on the Narco Mindset podcast: If that person is important to God, and God is very, very important to you, then how would you treat that person? I am somebody that’s going someplace, and I don’t want anything to taint my character. It is impossible for us to make people like us. We need to protest for better education for our children. Instead of me crying that I have to work three times as hard as anybody else, I just realized it made me better.
Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I am your host. You know, we treat people according to how important they are to us or how important they are to someone that is important to us. For example, I get 100 emails a day and it’s hard to answer them all with efficiency even though I always have a motto that if someone took the time to email me or to write to me, I owe them the decency of writing back.
One of the first things that I do is I go through all those lists, I get rid of all the junk, propaganda that you get on the email every day no matter what you try to avoid. Those sites that somehow you seem to subscribe to that you did never subscribe to always sending you something to buy because we live in a culture of I’ve got to have, I’ve got to have, I’ve got to have. I go through and I erase all of those. I try to unsubscribe to a majority of them, and then I go down and I look at the list of the rest of the emails.
Immediately, I answer those or the people that are very, very important to me; my family, my children, very, very close friends, and the closest business associates I have. Then I answer those that are important to somebody in my family or someone that is very close to me. Then down the road, I will answer the rest of them as time permits, and that’s how life is.
In this message that I heard, it talks about that we go down the road, and this car is about to just throw us off the road or to really crash into us and the guy seems to be drunk or sleepy or whatever the case is. Our first intuition as a human being is to curse him out and to say, “You idiot,” blow the horn and all that. In the message, it says just at the moment when we’re about to do that, we need to think about this; That person that we don’t like, that person that could have cost our life, that person that we might despise is someone that is very, very important to God.
Again, here I am, not trying to preach or anything like that but the message goes, if that person is important to God and God is very, very important to you then how would you treat that person? What would you say to that person?” It goes with the dialogue that we’re having today. We are so divided as a country. We’re so divided as families over things that are really, truly going to pass.
There’s great division over the presidential election coming up and the sad part about it, for the first time in history, that I can remember, if you choose one side, immediately, you are hated, despised, and given a whole series of names by the other side. If you go with Biden, you’re a socialist, you’re a communist, you're this, you're that. If you go with Trump, you're just don’t give a damn about people, you hate immigrants, etcetera, etcetera.
The division goes in unbelievable sides. The truth of the matter is that even if Donald Trump is re-elected as president, in four years, he’s going to be gone. If Joe Biden is elected president, in four years, eight years, he’s going to be gone, and the cycle goes on and on and on but what doesn’t go on is the witness that we leave behind. The witness that we leave our children. The witness that we live our grandchildren. The witness that we leave history.
It’s really interesting that forever and ever, I used to really worry about it ... when I was a young man, I was so worried about my character, I was so worried about the way that I behaved because I was so laser-focused on becoming somebody. I had it all mapped out. I would graduate from the University of Miami by the age of 20. I would take a year off to save some money. I would go on to law school. Graduate from law school by 24, and be a millionaire by 30. I did nothing. I drew strict lines down the middle of what I would never, ever do.
I had this girlfriend, and sometimes we’d go to a party and you're talking about the early ‘70s. Marijuana was a big thing among young people. The minute I smelled it, I would tell [inaudible 00:05:42], “I’ve got to go. We can’t stay.” She’s like, “It doesn’t matter, we don’t have to participate.” I said, “It doesn’t matter. I am somebody that’s going someplace, and I don’t want anything to taint my character. I don’t need to be around these people.”
I behaved like that, and I was so strict, and people thought I was a nerd. Then I crossed the line. When I crossed that line, it just went downhill so fast, and I became from a person that drew a line that I would never, ever break the law, I didn’t even have a traffic ticket, to someone that cared nothing about breaking the law. But that’s how our life goes, right? We make decisions and before we know it, they escalate to a point of no return.
That’s what’s happening today with our witness. We start picking sides, and then it doesn’t matter what the other side is. Then we forget that that person might have been a good friend of ours for 20 years. Now, we just don’t like him anymore. Now, we can just call and he just doesn’t give a damn or whatever, and we erase all the wonderful plans that we had over a presidential candidate that’s going to pass. Same thing with our family. We sit in front of the TV, and we choose what side we want to listen to. If we put on CNN, it’s all anti-Trump. If we put on Fox, it’s all anti-Biden. The views are so divided among both of them that somehow, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I decided as a family, we just won’t watch any of it. We will make up our own minds.
I urge my children to think about the things that are important for them, not to judge a person by what politics or by the news are saying or by what popular consensus is. What is important to them? Is other people are important to them? Is God important to them? Is morality important to them? Is helping the poor? I try to help my children to define their personality, and to define what they believe in, what they don’t believe in.
At the end of the day, it’s up to them, and then all I have to do is just sit back and accept it, and if I don’t agree with it, I’ve got to look at them and say, “You know, I don’t agree with what you're saying but I respect what you're saying.” I’m telling you this right now, I don’t do that. I strive to do that but I catch myself like shouting back immediately when they say something that is not right or when I bring up a point, and then they want to go ahead and debate it.
It’s very, very interesting, the dynamics of our family but being a father is not easy. Unfortunately, we get all kinds of exams to fly an airplane, to drive a car, but there is no an exam to be a father, which is actually to God, the greatest piece of human being that God ever created. By the time we really have it figured out, we've made so many mistakes and we just pray for God’s mercy. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how do we do maybe a stability movement? How can we get past this hatred? If you're in favor of Black Lives Matter, you're crazy. If you're against them, you're crazy. It doesn’t matter what side you pick. There’s no middle ground, there’s no, “Okay, I believe in some of the things you believe, I don’t like other things.” No, it’s just like I believe it or I hate it.
How do we start maybe a stability movement where we contact a loved one or a friend that we’ve had for years, and if they're close by, in the same town, invite them for dinner and say, “Look, let’s have dinner. Let’s have a night where we can talk about what made our friendship great.” Or our upbringing if it’s a family member. No politics at all.
If I do the invite, I provide the food that my friend or my family member wants to eat and the wine. If we live far away, then perhaps we’ll just have a virtual dinner or we’ll have a virtual night of wine and cheese. If you really want to get exotic about it, you can send the wine and you can send the cheese. At the end of the day is to find a point where we can go back to the time when we didn’t have these divisions. Yeah, we had different opinions but not these divisions to a point that it’s just chaotic right now.
I look at the movement that’s going on with this Black Lives Matter movement, and I’m sure they're great people but I’m sure there are really bad people in there. When I see all the looting, and I see all the destruction and all the rioting, and I see people picking up arms, it makes me wonder, are we living in America anymore? What is going on? I know that the oppression that the African-American and people of color.
Listen, I came to America, I know what it is to be discriminated. I know what it is to be called a Spic and to be called all kinds of names. I could not understand it as a 10-year-old why people were so mean. Those are people. I realized as I was growing up, I never heard my father say anything negative about them and I wondered, growing up, why would my father not protest? Why would my father let people call him a Spic? My father was a millionaire, a very important person in Cuba. Yeah, right now, he was a janitor at Jackson Byrons but it didn’t make him less of a man. But my father did not focus on what people were calling him because I realized, the older I was getting is, it is impossible for us to make people like us.
People that don’t like you are not ever going to like you, and that’s the bottom-line. Therefore, if people cannot like you, and if you can’t make them like you then what can you do? Well, you can do all you can do to better yourself and to become someone where you are respected. Sure, you might not be accepted, you might not be liked. I looked at it even going through my Ph.D. program, I remember I had to work three times as hard as anybody else to justify that I had the highest scholarship. Do you know what it did? Instead of me crying that I have to work three times as hard as anybody else, I just realized it made me better because the harder I worked, the better I became.
So maybe perhaps somebody else’s view of me helped me to become smarter, more focused, and at the end of the day, I ended up finishing faster than anybody in my class did, and we all have the same title – Doctor. I can’t make those people like me. Perhaps I can make them respect me. What will happen is, as we take up arms and as we destroy property, and as we hurt other people then you know what, all it does is justify what people believe about us.
For the last 25 years, way before this Black Lives movement was popular, I was doing gang revivals. When my book first came out, I did gang revivals in Chicago, and I did gang revivals among African-American gangs and Latino gangs. One of the things that I told them is, “Why are you being allowed to believe in a message that destroys yourself? How can blacks kill blacks? How can Latinos kill Latinos? We all carry the same blood. If anything, we should be fighting to better ourselves and to fight for the rights that God gave us as his special creation.”
What’s interesting, I didn’t see Latino’s killing whites, I didn’t see Blacks killing Whites. We’re killing each other. Until we stop that, it doesn’t matter because if Latino lives matter… when I hear people say Black lives matter, to me I say Latino lives matter, every life matters to God, right? Because I am a Christian, I make no beef about it. If every life matters, so why Latino lives matter, I would tell the gangs, “Why are you killing each other?” If you stand for Latino lives matter, why are you killing Latinos?” I said this to my black, African-American brothers. If you stand for Black Lives Matter, why are you allowing and not protesting about the thousands of lives taken by people of our same color? Why are we not protesting about the poor children that are dying in our drive-by shootings?
In one of those events that I did in Chicago, I remember this lady coming up to me after I spoke and she said, “You know, Dr. Valdes, I just wanted to die. I’m glad I came here today because I had decided I just wanted to die. You see, I’m a Christian woman, and all I ever asked God is to protect my children. Well, Dr. Valdes, I lost three of my young grandchildren to drive-by shootings.”
I looked at that woman and I wept. She said, “You know, I finally convinced myself that I was so unimportant to God, and that’s why he did not listen to me.” It is terrible. It’s terrible when a mother has to bury a child. It’s terrible. No matter how much we are oppressed by the other, we can’t control that. We can fight, we can protest peacefully as Martin Luther King did, and demand rights that God gave us but we can’t control how they feel about us, and we can’t control what the others did to us. What we can control is what we do to each other.
Unless our African-American and our Latino leaders stand up and say enough is enough, we've got to rebuild our cities. We cannot continue to allow these murders to go on. I have been racially profiled in a lot of white cities, in a lot of white towns. Sure. I remember waiting for my car at a carwash and talking to my mother, and this older gentleman coming to me saying, “Speak English, you're in America.” I had to tell him that we spoke Spanish for 200 years before the English-speaking immigrants came to America. The truth of the matter is, I’ve never felt unsafe in any of those communities. Sure, I know cops looked at me differently. Nothing I can do about that. I just had to make sure I didn’t give them a reason to do something tragic. I know sometimes we don’t and it still happens but I’m going to tell you this, there’s a lot of Latino communities that I am very, very concerned about ever going in, and that’s the truth.
The same goes for a lot of African-American communities. I know brothers, some of my closest friends that are African-American will not go in certain parts of Atlanta. The same goes for a lot of us Latinos. We’ll not go to certain parts of areas that are controlled by the Latino gangs in LA and other parts of California, and different cities in America. That’s the truth.
It hurts but it’s the truth. We need to change our communities, and we need to allow the children to grow up. We need to fight. We need to protest but we need to protest for what? We need to protest for better schools in our community. We need to protest for better education for our children. We need to protest for more funding so that those children have the ability to go to college or vocational training instead of having to work to feed a family because the father left or the mother is on crack or drugs or any of the many ills that afflict our communities. That’s what we need to protest.
We need to protest for the horrific of massive incarceration, those laws that were created to make sure that people of color are inventory and not human beings. But it’s up to us. It’s up to us what we do. We can buy into the frenzy, I promise you, this frenzy will pass. I’m 64 years old. I saw it. I thought back then in the ‘60s when I saw the Kent University killings over the Vietnam War and all that, I thought, “Wow, this is going to bring change to America.” It didn’t.
Nothing came and then you saw the Black Panthers, you saw all kinds of movements, and they all come and they all go. Why? Because we don’t look at the route of the problem. We've got to start rebuilding our families. We’ve got to start at the bottom, rebuilding our communities and those leaders of color, Latinos, and African-Americans. We have a responsibility that when we make it, we need to give back. What is the first thing we do when we make it? We leave, and we go live in those communities that we have always talked so bad about – the White communities.
The truth is that we abandoned our communities, and don’t ever look back. If we just take part of the money that we make in these great salaries because we have a lot of people of wealth. Some of the highest-paid athletes are athletes of color. Some of the highest-paid entertainers are entertainers of color. Latino and African American. If we get back to the communities, and we begin to rebuild those communities then we’re giving this next generation a chance. I don’t care. 200 years can pass. We’re never going to make people who do not like us, like us. That’s a reality. All the protest, all the burning, all the taking of arms isn’t going to do absolutely anything.
As a matter of fact, the truth of the matter is that the more I see people are militant out there with machine guns and all those because it’s open carry laws, all I said to myself, “You idiots, no matter what you think, trust me, you will be squelched. You aren’t as powerful. You are not as powerful as we were in the drug cartels, and we were eliminated, and so will you.” What nobody can fight is an enemy or a person that doesn’t fight back. No matter how much arms we raise, it will get to a point that the government can send in all the troops. I mean, they do it overseas and they wipe out entire countries. Sure, public opinion here controls a lot of that but the truth of the matter is when innocent people start dying, my God, we are out there destroying businesses that are only giving value to our communities.
Then the government takes up our arms. But what no one can fight, you know, like the bullying. If a bully punches a kid, and the kid doesn’t punch back, and the bully punches him again and the kid doesn’t punch back and the bully punches him again and the kid doesn’t punch back, eventually the bully moves on. I’m not saying that we need to be punched, punched, punched. Take it. You know, I’m a Christian, so I try to live by figuring out how I can turn that other cheek. What I have seen is that peaceful protest moves people’s hearts. Violent protest only reaffirms what people believe about us. If people think that we’re animals and they turn that TV and see us looting and rioting and stealing, all they say is, “See, we were right all along. They're nothing but a bunch of animals.” But if people see us peacefully protest and love the other, it will move hearts.
God bless you. thank you so much for listening to our podcast. If you’ve enjoyed it again, subscribe to our YouTube channel. Go to our website at jorgevaldesphd.com. Valdes with an S. Join our community, you'll get a free copy of my latest book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition, and stay in tune with all the things that we’re doing. There’s great stuff coming up. There's great things that I’m developing, great content, and again, all I’m doing, speaking from the bottom of my heart. You don’t have to agree. It’s free, just enjoy it, and like I tell people, listen, if the shoe fits, wear it. If not, just get another pair of shoes. God bless you. Have a wonderful day. We’ll see you again next week on the Narco Mindset podcast.
OUTRO: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.