Doing my Civic Duty
A few weeks ago I got that familiar summons to do jury duty. Today was the day. I went downtown early this morning and took this photo of the Tweed Courthouse before I reported for jury duty.
The last couple of times I had jury duty I loved the officer of the court assigned to the jury room. He was outrageously funny. He made the process actually fun. He must have retired and he now has a replacement. She hasn’t had as many years to hone her materials her predecessor did, but she has a similar dry wit.
They have updated the informational introductory video. I was sort of looking forward to seeing the giant shoulder pads from the old video that was filmed at some point in the 1980’s.
The previous times I reported for jury duty the highlight of my experience was the beautiful speech made by the retired judge. In that speech he talked about how our judicial system is flawed, but it is the best and the most fair in the world. He talked about the only way for the system to be more fair was for us to take our jobs as jurors seriously. By the time his little talk was done I was dying to serve on a jury and do my part for truth justice and the American way.
The updated movie had the chief justice of New York State making a similar speech ( but he wasn’t as good as the retired judge speaking to us live).
Well, this time I was chosen for a jury. No, I am not going to break the law and discuss the case here or anywhere or with anyone for that matter.
But I am going to say is that I am impressed with how sober and serious the entire process is. It gives me faith that there can be justice within our judicial system.
I am not that much of a flag waver. There have been a few moments when fulfilling my civic duty I have been truly moved. I was moved to tears when each of my kids applied for their first library card. The New York Public Library has a contract for little kids to sign when they apply for their first card. That contract is written in simple words that clearly spell out their responsibilities and rights as library card holders. It’s a gorgeous document.
I was moved to tears when I pulled the lever for Geraldine Ferraro. Standing on the line that snaked east and west along 97th street from Amsterdam Avenue to Columbus Avenue and back again, in 2008 for Barak Obama’s first election was a deeply profound civic moment.
Being chosen to sit on a jury is another of those profound civic moments.