A “Conservative Liberal”

Polarization in politics — is it the norm these days? It certainly appears to be.

I say “appears to be” because I think this phenomenon is mainly one of perception. Most Americans are somewhere in the middle, but the loudest voices from both ends of the spectrum get the most press. Conflict = eyeballs, so the media have every reason to play up the extremes.



But if, in fact, Americans are becoming less moderate, it’s worth recalling something that Rod Serling said in the November 28, 1961 issue of Show Business Illustrated:

There’s a propensity in our country to polarize things in black-and-white concepts. A man is either this or he is that.

He’s either a Communist or he’s on our side, and I think the reverse is true amongst liberals. If a man happens to be militantly and vehemently anti-Communist, this guy is suspect among the liberals.

I’ve either got to climb into bed with the John Birch group, or I’ve got to move far over to the wild left, where I don’t want to sit, either.

It’s kind of a dilemma of the — you might coin a phrase — conservative liberal. I’d like to dramatize the problem.

In many ways, Serling spent much of his career doing just that. And it’s a good bet we’d all be better off if we made greater efforts to understand the “other side.”

Chances are, we have more in common with them than we think. And we might avoid turning out like the overly suspicious people on Maple Street.


For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. WordPress followers, just hit “follow” at the top of the page.

Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 08/16/2011, in Rod Serling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for sharing the link with me from your recent “Still Valley” post. Serling always had wise insights.

    Maple Street is another episode where people say, “That’s not me!” or “I’d never do something like that!” But yet, they are us somehow. Eventually, everyone picks a side whether its’ left, right, center, or even, spiritually, above, and below.

    In our current day with the on-going virus, everyone’s on edge. That’s expected. But we see a growing number of Maple Street residents, not understanding the situation before they call the authorities or taking photos without permission to shame others all over social media, even getting into physical conflicts.

    And it feels like the governments are the aliens, sitting at a distance, but playing with the lights and appliances – ok, this state can open, but this state can’t. You can go to the beach in this area, but you can’t do anything except walk here. Wear mandatory masks, wear gloves, only N95 masks work, but they’re sold out make one from your handkerchief. This person has to shut down their small business, but everyone can shop at Walmart for the same items to their heart’s content. And on and on.

    It’s pretty crazy out there and hopefully doesn’t escalate to Maple Street proportions by the end.

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