In a classic Twilight Zone episode titled “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” fear of an alien invasion makes the residents of a suburban neighborhood so paranoid and suspicious that they end up turning on each other and destroying their community – much to the delight of the aliens who observe the chaos and self-destruction from afar, where they conclude that the best way to conquer earth is simply to let its inhabitants destroy themselves.
The show was broadcast during the Cold War, but its message remains strong in today’s era when partisanship, polarization and anger pit Americans against each other. To illustrate my point, take a look at this short item that circulated earlier this year on the internet, social network sites and letters to the editor pages:
“Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she’s a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27, are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention.”
The post makes a good point. In terms of importance, the exploits of the Lindsay Lohans of the world pale in comparison to the life and death issues of war, but the post also generated the same type of anger and finger pointing that spelled doom for the residents of Twilight Zone’s Maple Street. And there was no need for this to happen. Once one examines the facts, contrary to what the post says, there were plenty of news reports about these 12 individuals. Continue reading →