Monday, December 20, 2004

Don't ever try to swim against the mighty tide of justice.

A few weeks ago, I got a jury summons in the mail. I was summoned to report tomorrow morning at the municipal courthouse, and I'd be in bed right now if not for the fact that the theatre doesn't give time off for jury duty. While there are certain things in this country and its current government that have me disillusioned, at heart I believe in the system itself, and so I'm a little frustrated that I'm unable to report for jury duty. We're taught from a young age that jury duty is both a right and a responsibility for all citizens, much like voting, and I sincerely believe that's true.

What rankles me is that, like so many other things in life, money became the deciding factor for me- my choices were to either be excused from my civic duty in order to remain financially above-ground, or to report tomorrow morning and bail on work for as many as two weeks (if not more) during a season in which the theatre is short-staffed. So naturally, I chose the former, with one of my managers sending a request to the courthouse asking that I be excused (at least, I hope she sent it- all I need now is to get in trouble for THIS).

So pardon me if my rants all seem to have the same theme of late- I just can't help but feel like I'm hemmed-in by my economic station these days. If I was working a job more befitting my degree and intelligence level, I'm sure I could've gotten vacation pay in order to be a good citizen. But since I'm working for, quite frankly, lousy pay, I can't afford not to keep working.

Which brings me to a point I made around election time- while the financially comfortable are free to participate in government if they want, it's an uphill battle for those who are scraping by. Back then, I suggested that Election Day be made into a nationally-observed holiday, and now I think something really ought to be done for jury service. Not a holiday, of course, but something that encourages service among people of every social class (there, I said it), not just those who can afford two weeks off. Perhaps an incentive for companies who grant their employees jury pay, I dunno. This way, juries really will be comprised of the defendant's peers, and not just if the dependent is well-off, either.

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