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DAVIS: We are entering ‘The Twilight Zone’

July 18, 2011

Every year on certain holidays, one of the networks, I believe the SciFi network, runs a marathon of “The Twilight Zone” episodes. Back-to-back, hour after hour the shows continue with limited commercial breaks. By the time the fifth or sixth hour rolls around, any enthusiasm the viewer may have had tends to fall by the wayside. The novelty of the programming has faded. The anticipation that was once strong dwindles to a basic irritation. The buzz turns into a pesky gnat we swipe our hands at when we hear it humming around our ears.
Such is true with just about anything we feel a degree of passion toward if we don’t guard against the obstacles that will, not may, come around to bump us off track and lose focus.
We find this to be the very place Benton has entered at this moment of time in history. Decade after decade has passed with initiative, good intentions and well-meaning efforts to push toward progress. Too often, the prevailing viewpoint is “We can’t afford it” or “Why would we want to do what such-and-such city is doing? Just because it worked there doesn’t mean it will work here.” While both may be true when either statement is made, what is evident is that when looked back upon from the gaze of the future, both statements are the undoing of any vision and passion the people at that time in history had been able to generate. But momentum is a fickle mistress. Attention must be paid or the flame dies. And therein lies the problem.
Too much attention to an issue pulls away the veil of extraordinary only to be replaced with the sound of that pesky gnat. Sometimes it just won’t go away despite all attempts to swat the little bugger from the air and stomp it into oblivion. But think about that for just a moment. Just like in horror movies, the villain is never finished off the first time it hits the floor. Just when the unaware victors think they can catch a breath, the monster rising up behind them with a butcher knife glinting from the light of a swinging bulb. So the monster is killed...again...again...and again.
Do you think this can also be used as an example to explain why so many bright ideas and efforts keep rising up just when folks think they have seen the last of it? I certainly do or else why would I have bothered using it here.
We could talk all day long about things such as the Fariplex, the airport moving from Benton to Bryant, fixing up the fairgrounds to attract the State Fair, widening of lower Military Road, building a dam on the Saline River so that we have a ready water source AND a recreational attraction and so on and so on. Examples are easy to bring up. The list goes is long and when you gander at what we haven’t done, depending on which side you view it, the shear scope and magnitude of the potential they cumulatively represent is staggering.
And here is where we come back to the gnat. In our analogy, were the ideas the gnat and those opposing the issue, the swatter? Was the gnat those who were opposed to the issue represented by the swatter?
I guess we could use the horror movie comparison as well. Depending on your personal perspective, what or who do you see as the monster and what or who do you see as the killer? Kind of makes you go “Hmmmmmm. Have we entered the Twilight Zone?”

The Saline Courier Editor-in-chief Brent Davis is a lifelong resident of Benton and Saline County. The Courier has been part of his life for as long as he can remember. He is a graduate of Benton High School. His Sunday column appears at least twice a week: on Fridays and Sundays on the Opinion Page and on www.bentoncourier.com.

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