Monday, November 06, 2006

Blogging, judging, voting, etc.

I have to be honest, I never wanted to write a blog. The thought of it kind of freaks me out. This is the same person that loved to write journals but then got paranoid about the thought of people reading them, so then she stopped. I wasn’t even worried about people I knew reading them. It’s weirder than that. I was thinking that 20 years after I died, a great-granddaughter that I never really knew would find my journals and judge me.

So a blog… Do you know that once something is posted to the Internet, the image of it can never be deleted? I don’t know if that’s true, but I think I heard it on Law and Order.It’s enough to make you think - what if you wanted to take over the world, but when you’re making your bid for domination some geek finds the blog your wrote about [insert offensive topic here] and there goes that. No more world power. Think about it….

In any case, I like the thought of mocking blogs more than I do writing them. It’s just easier to do. Something about judging is really appealing.

Which leads me to the real subject of my blog, judging, voting and the power of the people.

As you all know, the MWBT&PC attempted a voter registration drive up on the Mount. The success of the drive aside, it was still an enlightening experience. I encountered people refusing to register because they were afraid of being called up for jury duty. Ironically enough, the idea that not registering to vote gets you off jury duty is false. State courts use driver registration lists. Which means that registered or not, you might be called for jury duty if you can drive. But I digress…

How frightening is that that a person may suppress their own right to vote because they are afraid of being on a jury? A jury!! Sure, it could be an inconvenience and you have no idea if you get to be called on an interesting case or a complete snoozefest. But that’s irrelevant. Being on a jury is a powerful thing. Women and minorities had to fight to get that power. The government today keeps getting more and more intrusive, as we stand aside thinking we’re powerless to say a darn thing.

Jury duty gives the people a direct check against the government. For example, say you get called to a jury because a criminal defendant made the rare decision to go to trial. That means that the government actually has to prove to you, and several other people that are nothing like you, that they really have the right person. Even if they do have the right person, you may decide that this act is not worthy of punishment. Or you think that the government should have done things differently and you acquit. Or you decide that the government is correct, and you want to send a message to people who affect your community negatively so you punish. Regardless of the outcome, you have power. Your voice is heard in a more intimate and immediate way than even voting in an election. To the people in that courtroom, your opinion could constitute the difference between a life in prison or being free. FREE! And not in the lofty and arrogant, we should fight to give these people freedom but in the immediate, “I don’t have to live behind bars” kind of free.

We have to overcome this negative image of jury duty. Because realistically, it is mostly the lower class that limits its power by refusing to speak out on elections and refusing to speak on juries. It’s ironic, considering that the lower class is more often personally affected by decisions made by an intruding government and the lower class is more likely to be in a courtroom - as a criminal defendant.

In the spirit of the (nasty) midterm elections, let’s give our community some power and promote the importance of voting AND being on a jury. I mean, how else are we going to get Mt Washington to secede and become its own city with its own mayor? That’s a big step on the road to world domination. Think about it….



evan said...

This is exactly why I don't drive.

evan said...

A more serious sentiment is in order.

Marie, that was a great blog. I'm very impressed. To think all this time I've done nothing but doubt you and bet against you.

You've set the bar even higher. I bet Heath is shaking in his newly scotch-guarded winter boots thinking about writing his blog and walking in the snow.

There must be some intense marital intellectual competition going on in that household. Maybe we should hold some sort of academic meet between you two a la Hometown HighQ. I get to be Ken Rice, and no matter what Heath says he has to be himself and not Sally Wiggins.

I guess this wasn't that serious. Consarn it.

Heath said...

Yeah, well I've been called for Jury Duty twice. Both times I just sat in a room with a bunch of old white ladies, while officers of the court took away my Post-Gazette. I did get to play Yatzee with some of the aforementioned gentlefolk, so that was fun.

But I'd say the chances of actually getting on a Jury, let alone an interesting case are very slim. I hear lawyers always strike young white males too, because we are too unpredictable in our verdicts.