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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (twilightzone.wikia.com)

Opening Narration

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

On March 4, 1960, during the Cold War, Rod Serling gave us a glimpse into life in middle America when fear trumps reason. The episode was entitled “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” It showed us that Lord of the Flies was not just about children and did not need to occur on an isolated island far away from the world of adult supervision. It could happen right here.

For those people not familiar with the story (or who have forgotten it), below is a summary. It can be viewed via the web for those who want more than the printed words alone.

On Maple Street, a strange whoosh is heard and the flashing of lights is seen. Shortly thereafter, almost all the electronics and machines on the street stop working. A small group of neighbors is unsure what has caused this. One little boy suggests it’s the work of aliens, but his assumption is excused as ridiculous.

As the neighbors continue to talking, one neighbor’s car starts on its own. The group instantly grow suspicious of the man and his family. The owner of the car denies any knowledge as to why this is happening, but few believe him.

The blame keeps getting passed around, as someone reports of a neighbor who stares up at the sky on some nights, looking for something, as well as tinkering with something in his basement.

As night settles, a dark figure is seen coming towards the group. One man takes a rifle and shoots the figure, who crumples to the ground. Upon further inspection, it is revealed that the figure was another neighbor, who had supposedly left the street to see if anyone over in nearby streets was experiencing the same issues.

The shooter is soon looked on with suspicion: why was he so quick to fire that gun? The person who fired the gun is then further surprised when his house’s lights turn on by themselves. Several people attempt to stone him, before he crazily yells that he believes the alien to be the boy from before, who talked of aliens.

As the panic rises, the once simple people place the blame on each other. The final scene of the human beings on Maple Street shows them all running around in complete chaos.

On a hilltop some distance away, two aliens observe the panic. One explains to the other that mankind is very easy panic, and that they can just as easily turn on the other. The divided people targeting each other will make domination over the species by the aliens rather easy.

Closing Narration

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 (the closing narration).

At the time of the broadcast, the American fear was of the Soviet Union. The McCarthy era was over but there was still the space race and the upcoming Cuban Missile Crisis. Students were trained to hide under desks in the event of a nuclear war.

Times have changed. Now schools are the hunting ground for domestic terrorists often too young even to be charged as an adults. Now it is Russia that violates America in the hopes of dividing us from within. Back then we expected our President to stand up against those who would divide us. Now we have one leading the charge.

The absence of adult supervision in the White House has ripple effects throughout the country and the world. On one level it may be fun for the press to designate certain individuals in the White House as adults…and to watch their numbers dwindle and their influence wane. On another level, the repercussions of that absence are stark. When there is no adult supervision in the White House, there is no adult supervision in the country and no adult supervision in the world. There is no figure of authority to appear at the end of the story of Lord of the Flies to make right what has gone awry. And the figures of power and therefore authority at the end of the Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street are not those who support the freedom of human beings.

The words of the divider in chief to the press on October 27 tell the tale of the violent chaos encompassing us.

It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country, frankly, and all over the world.  And something has to be done.  Something has to be done.

Perhaps he would consider a vow of silence, a pledge not to use Twitter.

If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.  This is a dispute that will always exist, I suspect.  But if they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation, but they didn’t.

Armed guards everywhere. Everyone always prepared for a maniac to show up guns blazing. Capital punishment. With these words of comfort from our leader, America should now rest easier!

Instead what has happened is that people at home and abroad have been issued their 007, license to kill. With impunity.  There are consequences to the relentless words of evil and hate spewing forth from the divider in chief that he lacks the mental necessities to understand.

Tom Malinowski, former State department official and Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey, said:

These words are like sparks to the gasoline of disturbed minds. These words can kill.

These words appeared in an article entitled “Chief Consoler Quickly Veers Back to the Attack” (10/29/18), in the New York Times, the publication whose acceptance he desperately craves and which he assaults as Fake News (and failing) when he does not get it.

The gas has been poured. The fire has been lit. The war is underway. As Anne Landman, a liberal blogger from Colorado wrote about the forces which have been unleashed:

It’s scary to see it. And now that box has been opened. I’m not sure how we close it again.

The headline today on CNN by:

How Donald Trump’s war on political correctness opened a Pandora’s box of hate speech

shares the same thought and metaphor.

Although he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh and not Paris, he was not elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh. They voted for his opponent. Now in their moment of grief, they do not even want him to come to their city. Stay away. The contrast with his predecessor singing “Amazing Grace” following another massacre in a religious building tells the story of where America is today. The scripted words of pretend grief by a person who lacks a sense of empathy and who cannot wait to get back to the battle in a string of professional wrestling performances before Election Day sound hollow, forced, and labored.  So how is he doing representing the citizens of Pittsburgh? A+. Never in American history has a President done a better job expressing grief and inspiring hope save maybe Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. It’s the evil enemy Fake News to claim otherwise.

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