Your Civic Duty

Jury duty isn’t fun, and many of us take steps to try and avoid serving, but it’s an important job.

I was all ready to go. Prepared to do my civic duty and spend this week sitting on a jury, listening to the righteous words of skilled attorneys and ultimately deciding the fate of my fellow man. To do my small part in preserving the ideals of truth, justice, and the American way.

Instead, I’m headed back to work, my projected three-day respite interrupted by what I can only assume was some sort of plea arrangement.

It’s not the first time that my lot has been drawn. The United States is one of the few countries that provides the opportunity for jury trial in civil cases as well as criminal and I had previously sat for one of those. I came out of that experience disappointed by what I thought was complete ineptitude by both attorneys, but proud of the feeling that my presence there had helped avoid a grave injustice from being done. The complainant and her attorney probably didn’t see the situation from the same perspective, but it was a good reminder of why we have such a system in place and the importance of impartial, semi-intelligent jurors. Jury duty isn’t fun, and many of us take steps to try and avoid serving, but it’s an important job.

In November 2020, all citizens, hopefully most of those at least semi-intelligent, will have another opportunity to fulfill a civic duty by voting in what is quite possibly one of the most important Presidential elections in the history of our country.

Besides our domestic issues, there are small matters like the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, the continued destabilization of the Middle East and refugee crisis, radical Islamic terrorism, and the consensus of the world’s scientists that drastic measures about climate change are needed if out planet is going to remain hospitable.

Small matters.

I’m not going to tell anybody who they should vote for. If there is a candidate that you are already steadfastly behind, nothing said here will change your mind. If you are still undecided, or simply find all of the last four possibilities unpalatable, dig deeper. Don’t be influenced by shallow sound bites, exaggerated claims, negative propaganda, or media bias.

This is apparently what the democratic process has come to. Voting for the person that you find the least objectionable. In the words of the immortal Ice Cube, “you can elect, but you can not select.”

It’s not a perfect system, but it is the one we have. This year more than ever, participation is your civic duty. The fate of civilization just may depend on it, a joke that gets less and less funny with each passing day.

A version of this post was previously published on and is republished here with permission from the author.


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