My first flight.

Part one of a series about the lessons learned over four months while earning my pilot’s license in 2020.

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The Irresponsible Child

I was nervous as we walked to the plane that day in August, not because I was scared of death or injury, but because deep down, I didn’t believe I had it in me to be a pilot even though it was my childhood dream. I grew up in a small town after my Dad retired from the Air Force as a truck mechanic. I would often watch the planes flying overhead in wonder. …

The story of a country built on very different views, and how that unites us.

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Like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, increasingly, our country bifurcates into two houses predicated on moral mandates intrisic to who we are: House Conservative and House Liberal.

Most of us realize this, but we don’t often consider that this is by design. Why is the Republican platform and Evangelical Christianity linked in the minds of most Americans? Why are Democrats the social justice progressives? Can they co-exist?

The Original Rift

Early on, deeply held beliefs divided us into two camps. Federalism and statism competed for control to shape our nation. We started a “firm league of friendship” with the Articles of Confederation, a pact loosely uniting us without an executive branch or any strong central power. It became clear that in our search for national unity, our young republic needed strong federal leadership. …

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It can be hard to talk to someone that you believe is a racist. How do you even do that?

You don’t.

The moment the word racist enters the conversation in reference to another person or something they believe, even if it’s a loose association, the brain releases a stress hormone in the body of the person that you are asserting is a racist. We identify this hormone as shame. The brain always protectively responds to this hormone to avoid harm to our psyche. In response to this shame hormone we have to dominate and regain control to re-establish mental equilibrium. We have little to no control over this reaction. …

Statistics can be one of the most divisive and harmful misinformation tools, and I have seen it all over Facebook. I have attempted to make sense of the apparent conflict of reality that statistics represent. I knew nothing about data science when I began to write this, and after researching, I realized that I am woefully unprepared for this attempt. That said, I decided to give it a try. (Note: I know that I have a bias towards the existence and ubiquitousness of systemic racism. This article is a general critique, but on second reading, my examples betray that bias.)

The Impetus

Candace Owens claimed that 75% of black homes are without a father. …

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We are becoming increasingly polarized. Not since the Civil War have we been so far apart ideologically in our country.(1) Even during the lead up to the Civil War, we often found more in common then we do today.

Not only are we polarizing faster than we ever have as a country, it’s happening more than any other democracy on earth.(2) To see just how polarized we have become, just look at this graph from the Pew Research Center:

How America’s Ministry of Propaganda is decentralized and highly active.

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When I boarded the bus in rural Arkansas to go to a new school in the Seventh grade, I was extremely nervous. Raised as a military brat, this would be my first time attending school off-base, and I wasn’t sure I would fit in. I didn’t make it far down the school bus aisle before I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. I turned to see four older boys, probably 9th graders. They forcefully lead me down the aisle, finally stopping at the back of the bus. I can still remember the eyes of the bus driver in the rearview mirror, watching as the leader of this group picked me up by my neck against the rear door and asked me:

“Are you a Ni**er?”

Years before that encounter, I remember walking the clinical and dark grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp with my Grandfather as a 3rd grader. I had never seen him cry before that day. I had one question when we entered the gas chambers and saw the pictures of the bodies of murdered Jews. How?

How can a young child on a bus in rural Arkansas be so filled with hate, and how can an entire country be so willing to participate in an atrocity such as the holocaust?

My study of the reasons behind these two events sent me down an unexpected path. I emerged with compassion for those kids on that bus. I gained some insight into what was possibly happening in the minds of Germans in the 40s. I discovered that the same thing is happening now. …

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Many people that I know are looking around with confusion at why our fellow countrymen are waging a ground offensive in our cities and towns. It may feel like out of nowhere, we are expected to just accept our “white privilege” and acknowledge “systemic racism.” __________________________________

We are wondering why we can’t go back to the normality that we enjoyed a mere three weeks ago, others just don’t see what all the fuss is all about. Instead of investigating, we argue about the Confederate Flag over morning coffee and get into semantical debates about hashtags. I believe now is the right time to look back at how the hell we got here.

For three centuries, America tolerated the legal bondage of human beings. Reconstruction lasted for 12 years following the end of the Civil War, seeing little to no positive results for the African American community(1). …

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I grew up in the South in a small town in Arkansas nearly 140 years after the Civil War had ended. The Confederate flag was a regular sight in rural Arkansas as was talking about the history it represented.

In school, I learned that the Civil War was a battle fought in self-defense after a northern incursion onto southern land.

The story I was told goes like this: The Southern States had joined together to secede from the United States. This was a reaction to unconstitutionally high tariffs and over-reaching laws that threatened their sovereignty. The Northern States decided to prevent this secession by unconstitutional force. The South had to rise in self-defense. The worse part was that in the South, slavery wasn’t brought up, except by the North to drum up support for the war.

I was told that most slaves supported the South in the Civil War and were ready to fight. …

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What is happening right now is an organic movement united by marketing.

I am a Creative Director at a marketing agency in Texas. Previously I owned my creative agency that still operates under the new one. I’ve spent most of my adult life crafting campaigns and developing messages to help businesses around the US, and I love what I do. In the past year, I’ve helped a home builder, a city, a technology company, an outdoor company, an entertainment startup, and much more. The wide variety of clients and each of their unique needs keeps me energized. But enough about me.

Movements depend on a message being heard.

Marketing is identifying, anticipating, and satisfying a need using messages. Our needs are rarely physical commodities. They are often emotional ones. …

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Jasmine Salcido knew her son’s condition well. When Jonathan Andrew Salcido called to his mom and said that he felt an episode coming on, she knew she needed to act quickly.

She called an inpatient hospital but there were no beds. Her only option, she was told, was to try again the next day. Her son’s schizophrenia got worse over night, as I’m sure she knew it would. The next morning he was in a full psychotic episode and refused to get in the car to go to the hospital. Defiant and out of touch with reality he left the house and started down the street toward town.

Worried for her son Jasmine followed behind, on the phone with the Whittier, California police. When the police caught up with Jonathan he tried to escape. When he couldn’t he tried to avoid handcuffs any way possible. …


Jonathan Taylor

As Creative Director in Austin, Texas with a background in counseling, Jon finds a way to connect the intangible to the tangible.

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