11 days TE (‘Til Ecuador) and I’ve just finished an exhausting week of jury duty. I was the youngest person there, and though I spoke the truth about how my bias would influence my decision, there were more biased people than I during selection. Thus I spent three days exhausted, with a splitting headache, trying to simultaneously entertain my friend who drove nine hours to visit me.
Some good things did come out of doing my civic duty. It made me appreciate how our jury system works: twelve of the least possibly biased people who know nothing about each other or the case are given an intensive steeping in the law. By the end of the three days we were the experts in the case, and we held the final and only say in the outcome.
My worries at the beginning of the case were that 1) one person in particular would cause issues, 2) I would be spoken over because of my age, and 3) the women in the room would be spoken over. 1) He was, 2) I was not (!), and 3) some of them were–but luckily myself and another woman (the second youngest person there), were united in constantly quieting the room down so quiet voices could be heard. It was a nice feeling of intra-generational acknowledgement of shared values.
It was also pretty cool to know beyond a doubt that twelve total strangers, of many races, ages, and genders, can come together and cooperate enough to deliberate for five hours and come out on the other side. With, furthermore, every person satisfied (to a point), and not wanting to kill each other (mostly) by the end of it. Hope for the future.