This episode begins with government employees exiting a government facility. Each man walking out of the facility is assigned a different warfare research zone; chemical, hydrogen, germ, and so on. Our main character is employee number 369-MI5, Bill Strika. Upon leaving for the day, Bill is stopped by a man wearing a white suit and white hat but no name is given. He mentions to Bill the world they know will change in the next 48 hours. The long hours the men have been putting in at the bomb facility is paying off and in the next 48 hours, the enemy (who is not identified) will be destroyed, 35 million people will be obliterated. The man in all white is pleased at these numbers and is concerned that Bill is not.
When Bill makes it home for the evening, his daughter Jodi asks her father if he likes what he does for a living. It must be exciting she says “working on bombs”. Her father quickly states “I’m just a cog in a wheel. Each part of a bomb needs at least 50 different parts and 50 different men to create those parts. Looking at it like that, I am not quite as responsible . . . “ and then he is interrupted by his wife entering the living room. Jodi mentions she has noticed there is something in the air, everyone seems afraid but she doesn’t know why. Her father states “People are afraid because they make themselves afraid. They are afraid because they subvert every great thing that was ever discovered. Every fine idea has been subverted and made devious and then they wonder why they are afraid, but it is too late.” The conversation ends with Bill and his wife going off into their bedroom to have a conversation. Bill explains to his wife, Anne, in the next 48 hours it is coming. It will be a holocaust, a hell, an end to everything that we know.” He tells his wife that tonight she, he, Jodi, his friend Jerry and Jerry’s spouse are leaving on a space ship bound for another planet.
The two men decide to leave for a planet located 11 million miles away from their own. A planet that is populated and one in which they have intercepted communication from. They are leaving for the promise of a better life on a planet they know nothing about. The risk everything for the promise of what could be. The are leaving for the the planet that is the third from the sun known as Earth.
We learn in this Twilight Zone episode that where there is life there are problems. These men left the only planet they knew because they never spoke up when things were going wrong and now it is too late. They agreed when they should have argued. They complied when they should have protested. They stayed silent when they should have spoken up. Bill and Jerry are just as responsible for their planet’s current situation as the man in all white.
It is not easy to speak up in the face of power but it is something that needs to be done if you want to continue to live in a world that is worth living in. You cannot release responsibility and negate accountability. You cannot say “I don’t agree” or “I wish things were different” in the privacy and safety of your own home and believe that the problem will fix itself. You must speak truth to power when you do not condone or believe in what is going happening. You must speak up and speak out when you feel that something isn’t right.
This doesn’t have to be in a large scale like Bill and Jerry and the end of their own world. This can happen on a smaller scale, at work, at home, or within your social circle. If you see something that you believe is not right, you have a responsibility to say something and do something about it. If you see someone who is in pain, reach out. If you see someone who is bullying, say something. If you see something that is not fair or just, right the wrong. People believe either they don’t have the power to do anything or someone else will do the right thing, someone else will tell someone, help someone, or correct the situation. I encourage you to be that someone. When you are faced with a situation where you feel action should be done, don’t ask yourself “why me” ask yourself “why not me?” In the words of John F. Kennedy “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”