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updated: 2/5/2018 11:09 AM

'Twilight Zone' lesson

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Who knew Vladimir Putin and his Russian authoritarian apparatus were fans of Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone"? It appears they've learned the lessons of Episode 22 in their attack on the United States.

In "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street," middle class families living on a Norman Rockwell-like street are sent into paranoia and panic when rumors of aliens spread and their power is lost. Neighbors ramp up their suspicions and fears that an alien resides among them. A neighbor is mistakenly shot, the lights return to only one neighbor's home, and a cycle of accusations, violence and panic continues.

Watching from a distance, the real aliens note how easy it is to spread confusion and chaos and that invading earth can be accomplished through very simple means. "Just stop a few of their machines and radios and telephones; throw them into darkness for few hours and then sit back and watch the pattern. They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find and it's themselves. Their world is full of Maple Streets. Let them destroy themselves."

Serling's obligatory epilogue warns, "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes and prejudices found in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicions can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children and the children yet unborn."

Perhaps the Trump administration and all of its sycophants should take heed of this prophetic television drama that originally aired in 1960. A strategy that is now being brilliantly employed by a real enemy.

Mark Plotnick

Vernon Hills

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