I’ve always loved The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was a great writer and an all-around classy human. As we’re gearing up for the 2020 presidential election, it’s why I’m reminded of one of my favorite episodes: The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.
Hey, now’s a good time to mention that this article contains spoilers. But if you haven’t watched the episode since it aired in 1960, perhaps you never will. So read on, friend.
In The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, the town’s people witness strange events. Lights flicker in their homes, cars start and stop, radio static abounds. And the town’s people loose their minds. As they’re trying to figure out what’s going on, everyone starts blaming their neighbors until their emotions spill over into an all-out riot.
In the end we see a spaceship in the distance. An alien is in training. His alien colleague is teaching him how to conquer human civilization and he just learned the most basic of lessons: how to turn residents of a community against one another. How to trick otherwise friendly neighbors into believing they’re now enemies.
After all, Maple Street isn’t unique. To an extent, we’re seeing this same story playing out in the United States and around the world. This is just one of the many examples Serling was ahead of his time.
Yes, I know the next election is a long time from now, and the narrative could be completely different by then. President trump could see even greater resistance from within his own party. Of course, Robert Mueller hasn’t released his report on the Russia investigation yet. So when you enter the voting booth in November 2020, think about what you’re voting for. Are you voting for a person? A cause? A party? Here’s a thought: just vote for your fellow Americans.
Then watch the full episode on Netflix. It holds up well.