Rod Serling, in many ways, seemed like a prophet. The Twilight Zone was able to hit on so many ideas, often using metaphoric allusions to what should be the obvious.
One of his best is The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. Some of us, here, and in the country, remind me of those who dwelled on Maple Street.
I will explain.
Picture a quiet, suburban, tree-lined street of modest, but beautiful homes. There is a car in every driveway, and neighbors actually speak to each other.
Enter suspicion. Aliens are rumored to be living among the very people of Maple Street. Strange things begin to happen. Someone's car starts without them starting it. An insomniac star gazer becomes the focus of people. Is he the one? Or is it the person whose car starts and stops? The electricity goes out. People panic. Rumors spread. A mob forms. They accuse a child of being the alien. Guns appear.
At the finale of the episode, the camera pulls away and the viewer is left with the people of Maple St. fighting, screaming. The camera pulls further away and the viewer actually sees the "aliens" who climb into their spacecraft for the ride home. As they climb, one alien speaks to the other. He says something like: This is how easy it is to destroy them. First, plant suspicion. Then the rest will fall in line, and they will destroy themselves, one by one, one by one.
Serling's monologue at the end speaks of the many ways to destroy people. It will not happen with guns and bombs, but with words.
In a sense we, in America, have become the dwellers of Maple St. We speak before we think. We accuse without evidence. We opine without discretion. We believe whatever the media tends to spew.
Why many of us and in the media are already pontificating negatively about the President's freeze policy. He hasn't given his speech yet, but many have already decided. We lay down the words and suspicion follows.
The President's opponents have done this well. He is not really one of us. He is not a real American. He wasn't born here. He doesn't belong. The words were spoken; the suspicion has given a path for those who wish the President ill.
And furthermore, those who should support him, are also following the very same path the opposition follows. We do not have to agree with any, all, or some of the President's policies, but we owe it to ourselves and to him to think, research, know, before we speak. For along with the opposition, we are also hurting this President's reputation.
One of the problems I think Barack Obama has is this. He is a pragmatist, a realist. He is also a thoughtful man. He encounters a problem not from a left or right point of view;nor from a conservative or liberal point of view; or for that matter a Republican or Democratic point of view. He looks at a problem and questions himself on what will be best for the American people. Hence, his policies are doomed to make either end of the political spectrum happy.
I write this because so many have already made up their minds to condemn the so-called freeze without understanding its ramifications for the U. S. NPR aired a segment explaining that because of China's change of policies with their banks, those who need to borrow money will not be too successful unless the Chinese feel that deficits are being addressed. The economist went on to explain that the President had already told the government departments, soon after inauguration, that they needed to cut spending or freeze spending on wasteful or irrelevant policies.
Therefore, there are obvious world wide reasons why the President is choosing to speak to the deficts in this country. It is not just for politics, but he is thinking of our long term efforts to get this country's economy moving; and that may involve borrowing more money from China at some point.
Before we destroy a man who has the best intentions for us, let's think first. Criticism is acceptable when written coherently and constructively.
Let's give this man a chance before we inadvertently throw him out in 2012. We need to stop being the inhabitants of Maple St.