Observing the news this last week, it occurred to me that America is in great danger of descending into the Twilight Zone. I was especially reminded of one particular episode from the original series, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” wherein residents of a suburban neighborhood are whipped into self destructive-paranoia by space aliens seeking to weaken American society so that they can more easily conquer us.
Of course, the most obvious monsters at work today are not beings from other planets. They’re the ISIS terrorists who, motivated by their sadistic Islamophobia, seek to destroy civilization to facilitate the establishment of their evil caliphate. Through mass murder and the terror it causes, they want to demoralize and destabilize us, and make us even more divided than we already are over such issues as what to do about refugees, to what extent should we be allowed to arm and defend ourselves under the Second Amendment, and how to create more safety without diminishing too much our natural and necessary freedom.
But in their quest to disrupt and destroy us, ISIS is being helped unwittingly by those who remain obsessed with racism, real or imagined, in our society. I’m old enough to remember when to shut down rational analysis of anything one need only charge one’s opponents with communism. Racism is the new communism today. Like communism, it is evil. But also like communism, accusations of racism, or the fear of being accused of racism, can promote the sort of hysteria which can kill rational thought and stop rational action. Consider some of the other stories, understandably overshadowed by ISIS’s atrocities this week, yet which have been in the news and bode ill for America:
• At Brown University in Rhode Island, a mob occupied the President’s office to protest a plan to spend one hundred million dollars to combat on-campus racism, claiming the amount was too little, too late (I wonder how many could be helped if that money were to be spent on more student aid, higher salaries for faculty, more books for the library, etc.).
• At Keane College in New Jersey, it was discovered that an African American “activist” and former student was fomenting racial tensions by sending anonymous death threats to other African American students (this should make you think about the overall veracity of complaints made by those who cry racism at every opportunity).
• In a small town in Massachusetts a white police officer is being investigated for racism after someone spotted a confederate flag in his garage when he carelessly left its door open (so what’s in YOUR garage, or on your car’s bumper?).
• A neighbor of the San Bernardino monsters reported he had seen what he thought was suspicious behavior—young men looking as if they were from the Middle East visiting the monsters—but was afraid to report it to the police for fear of being accused of—you guessed it—racism. Of course, now we’ll never know if his fear prevented him from telling police of activities which, if investigated, might have prevented this latest atrocity.
So should the ISIS monsters ever want to give their assault rifles and their pipe bombs a rest, they can sit back and watch as America teeters on the edge of the Twilight Zone as we try to grapple with issues such as immigration, refugees, civil liberties, gun control, and, of course, racism. And they don’t have to rely on aliens from outer space to come to earth to join them. Right now we’re doing a pretty good job of helping them ourselves.