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  • Stephen L Carter, Sr.


You Can't Tell What To Do! Can You? Can You?

by Stephen L. Carter, Sr.

The debate about Mandates has been as fascinating, unsettling, and perplexing, an issue that I have witnessed in my fourscore years. As fascinating as a train wreck unfolding in front of your eyes in slow motion. Unsettling in the mix of feelings one experiences as the debate rages. Perplexing in that, you wonder what these “nincompoops” are thinking as opposed to what I believe is a no-brainer (Hmm, did I write “nincompoops”? That’s about as “old school” as you can get.)

Whatever side of the debate voiced is seen through a variety of prisms. The prism of ‘my rights are being violated.’ The prism of ‘you have no right to put my life in danger by exposing me to this Covid menace.’ The prism of ‘vaccinations are for the common good.’ The prism of ‘I don’t trust the government.’ The prism of ‘my business will collapse if I limit the number of customers entering my business.’ Or, the prism of California’ Governor Newsom’s latest mandate – having to check proof of vaccination before one can enter my restaurant or stadium.

Yes, most mandates may be evident to me – I’m on my “so-called” no brainer side of the debate: Get the damn shot; I got mine; you get yours, and I’m ready for my booster now; I’m on the right side of history; end of debate. My sister and baby brother died of Covid within nine months; end of debate. Friends dropping of Covid because they weren’t vaccinated; end of debate. So you see where I’m coming from, and I pat myself on the back for being civil (99% of the time) in engaging in conversations and debates on this divisive issue that immobilizes our government officials and polarizes fellow citizens.

It’s a daunting task to see the other side from a purely objective view. I’m thrown off objectivity by the stories of the incivility of non-maskers to Upholders of the Mask. I’m appalled at the accounts and videos of public berating and physical assault of mask wearers prevalent in too many parts of the country. (I had to refrain myself from saying those damn rednecks in Florida and Texas.)

Am I too isolated with my fellow travelers of seeing the other side? Probably. Am I blaming Trump and his Band of Trumpets for causing this national rift among people of goodwill and those who are followers of misinformation? Yes! Do I have a Rodney Kingish solution like, Can’t we all just get along? I’m afraid not! And I’m almost terrified that I see no solution in sight; indeed, no easy solution.

So where do we go from here, Dear Readers? Is it more mandates and fiats from the government? Some are un-enforceable in practicality. Some are effectively halting Covid-19 in its tracks but further polarizing the great divide from reaching a common agreement. How do we identify common ground where civility reigns? How do we get over, around, and through the duplicitous politicians that are holding out for midterm elections as the relief from mandates against their right (wing) to choose? Yea, I’m talking about you, Mitch McConnell, and your fellow bootlickers of The Donald. You better believe, history will not look on you with favor, and midterm election voters will not look with favor on you when, come November, they close that curtain in the voting booth.

I’ve raised questions - unfortunately - with no answers. Perhaps I’m too close to the issue to ask the beautiful questions about solutions. But I do know, “…to him the beautiful answer, who asks the more beautiful question.” (e.e. cummings)

My readers, you be the beautiful answer.

(Feel entitled to comment or exercise vents or praise privileges by snail mail at BlackButterfly, Current Magazines, Kirkwood Business Center, 1940 E.79th St, Chicago, Illinois, 60649 or email at:

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