Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Juror #4

As a young professional living in New York, I have spent the past 5 days fulfilling my civic duty by sitting on jury duty. I have purposely put off writing about the experience, as I hoped to wait until it ended and then capture it in its entirety. After my first two days of sitting in the pool of potential jurors, I was tempted to rant about the mindless waiting. After a day and a half of testimony, I was inclined to go on about the silliness of requiring 12 people to agree to something obvious. After nearly two days of deliberation, which ended in a hung jury, I wanted to vent about the details that resulted in our impasse. Frankly, the experience inclined me to believe that our system does not work. To be blunt, in my mind - beyond a reasonable doubt - a crack dealer was not brought to justice.

After taking the past few hours to collect my thoughts, and catch up with what has been going on in the rest of the world since my sequestration, I am now at a more levelheaded point, and I am able to take stock. While I have digested the dramatic events surrounding Bear Sterns and scoffed at the succession of political scandals in the tri-state area, the item of greatest note was something Josh drew my attention to.

I do not want this viewed as a testament of my political leaning, nor do I post it here to try and sway anyone, I simply found it a compelling view of the state of our nation. Undeniably, Obama's message was focused on the racial stalemate in the US. I also do not want to detract from this important point, but rather add to it by explaining what else I took away from his speech. In a country founded on the goal of achieving a more perfect union, it reminds me of why, last Wednesday, I looked forward to potentially serving on a jury. Additionally, it emphasizes that we all have obligations to help achieve the goal set forth by the founding fathers. While the past few days have been difficult and filled with feelings of anger and ignorance, feelings only to be further exacerbated by not reaching a verdict, it is precisely this jury process that makes our country work. Therefore, I will not bore with my rant about what a waste the past 5 days have been, but rather remind of the importance of these mundane obligations and encourage embracing them with an open mind and no prejudices.

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