The monsters are due on Maple street.
It is now 2017. The world is changing rapidly before our eyes. Aside from the obvious politically driven landscape, there are environmental changes, changes in music and entertainment, and maybe most of all, changes in ourselves.
Now, more than ever, there is a wealth of education and opportunity at our fingertips, the internet has reached critical mass. Like all good things though, this comes with drawbacks. Everyone is an expert, and everyone’s opinion is correct. Sifting through the endless banter on our social media feeds is exhausting. You see people with the bravado to write about things the only think they know about, while condemning those who disagree.
What I see going on in my country, specifically internet-driven conversations, it reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode — “The Monsters are due on Maple Street”. If you are not familiar with the episode here is a quick synopsis. The quiet, classic 60’s neighborhood — People washing their cars, kids playing outside, a nice sunny Saturday afternoon. Then things start to get strange, all the power goes out, cars will not start, radios will not work. A little boy remarks on how ‘UFO’s’ can cause such a thing. Long story short, the residents start to suspect each other, tempers flare, and they begin to fight and even kill one another. The episode concludes with a wide angle shot in which two aliens are going over a procedure, in which they are revealed to be the ones who caused the strange things that set all of this in motion— “With few variations. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find . . . and it’s themselves. And all we need do is sit back . . . and watch.”
I think the social commentary is more relevant know in a lot of ways. We are on a perpetual witch-hunt for anyone who dares disagree with us. Our opinions are swayed by celebrities, and we all fancy ourselves qualified journalists, citing our sources which may or may not be credible. We are heading for a complete break-down in communication and relationships. I have plenty of friends who have very different political , religious, and world views than I do, but they are still my friends and I love them. You see, to me, THAT is what makes America great. We are a place in which people of all different backgrounds, opinions, and experiences, can come together and live in freedom. The more we fight ourselves, the more we will destroy that concept.
I would like to conclude by quoting Rod Serling’s brilliant, ending monologue from that episode. I wonder what he would think of the state of affairs in 2017, and if he were still alive , what interesting episodes we might see.
“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill — and suspicion can destroy — and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own — for the children — and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is — that these things cannot be confined — to the Twilight Zone.”