Iraq. Afghanistan. ZOMG ROLLING STONE, WTF?! Syria. Darfur. Drones. Obamacare. Filibusters. More filibusters. Seriously, can an appointee actually get confirmed by this infantile, insipid branch of government we call the Legislature? Woman dies on roller coaster. GMO CROPS ARE KILLING UR DUDES! Texas abortion bill passes. ZOMG ROYAL BIRTH! Snowden. Zimmerman. Tourist jailed after raped in Dubai.
I’m tired y’all. I’m tired and worn out, trying to keep track of all of the things I’m supposed to be outraged over. By the time I see why I’m supposed to be outraged, it’s on to the next one.
Seriously, we’re on outrage alert every day. New petitions, new laws to combat. New causes to fund. New happenings to protest, boycott…whatever. I’m supposed to cultivate an attitude of rage, hate and vitriol at all times? Am I supposed to keep a log?
“They” say that the average weekday edition of the New York Times contains more information in it than an average 17th century Briton would have encountered in his/her entire life.
I don’t think I have it in me to keep up.
If I’m honest, it’s easiest to become cynical or apathetic. When I covered human nastiness as a reporter, especially during my time at war, the only way I could deal with it back then was to chuckle or think of the numbers. Only five died with that bomb? Amateur…last one killed 60.
Who thinks like that? Who takes a look at the pics he snapped at an IED site and passes them around, saying “Yikes, look at that poor bastard. He ain’t coming home for supper”?
There’s PLENTY to be angry at, I get it. In addition to the 1,000 things of the last few weeks, the Kony 2012 guy is still out there. Who killed Chandra Levy? Any anger left at Casey Anthony? Who sent all that anthrax around back in 2001? Katrina aftermath still has stuff going on. Haiti is still wrecked.
Who’s keeping all those “outrage” candles lit? Who will keep them lit for all the new stuff?
The answer isn’t to unplug and become Amish, but I do think I can be more deliberate at the things I choose to be angered over. I think I’m going to start cutting back on the hate…you know, to aim to be a more uplifting dolt of a man.
So how do you do it? How do you sustain this constant barrage of expected rage?
NOT going to be a big rant about guilt or innocence. Seriously.
The news has been covering this thing non stop (gee, thanks, 24 hour news cycle). Millions of newly-minted Facebook lawyers are chiming in on all sides. Blogs are churning out. Videos are being posted. Gun control. Racism. Arguments arguments arguments.
This isn’t about that.
This is about the times people make fun of me for being proud I was selected for jury duty.
Remember that? Well, probably not. I didn’t blog about it. I did have a good Facebook discussion…can’t find the link.
Anyway, a couple of years ago I received a jury summons. I was kind of excited. The day came. I went in, waited around, picked up this girl (the price of being a player is eternal vigilance), filed into a room and then was dismissed. No trial for me that time. I collected my six bucks and went home.
All day everybody was complaining and complaining. People were pitching a fit in the waiting room. They were appealing to be released because their foot hurt or their child was sick or they were inconvenienced. While we waited and the officers of the court courteously asked us to go here and there, the other candidates seemed to be angered and annoyed at every turn. Largely we sat, read, got things to eat and left. It was air conditioned. The seats were padded. I didn’t see it as this huge thing.
Online many people piled on about how they hate jury duty. Some thought it was silly that I was proud to do it. Some people gave me a thumbs up. Some were surprised someone actually took it seriously. However, I’ve also seen posts since that incident where people try their hardest to get out of serving. There are even jokes on the 1,000 Law & Order shows about how juries are full of people “too stupid to figure out how to get out of jury duty.”
Here’s the thing…
If all of the level-headed, put together and generally mature and reasonable people do nothing but dread serving on juries…if the first reaction people get to a jury summons is “UGH! I’ve got to get out of this!”…then who is left?
Our system is built so despots and military tribunals can’t strip our rights away without due process. But if most citizens are so abhorrent to serving that they bend over backwards to get out of performing this basic civic duty, then it’s no wonder juries are going to make some wacky decisions.
I’m not saying the Zimmerman jurors are idiots. I’m sure they made their ruling within the guidance of the court and the evidence provided.
What I’m saying is the people who often complain the loudest often do the least to help the situation. I would ask the millions of people who rage and yell and freak out when they say justice isn’t served (and sadly, it often isn’t), to step up when their turn is called and contribute their small measure of time to making this country different from the nastier corners of the world.
I’m proud to serve on a jury. It’s a way the U.S. is different than most countries. Call me one of these “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” types. I’m fine with that.