Sunday, November 9, 2008

Two Things related to Politics

Alright, here I go. I have one commentary to share although it is a little past due...I still feel it is applicable. The Wednesday prior to the election, Barack Obama ran an infomercial on all the major networks, which makes me wonder how desperate we must be as a nation for a change. I also have to ask what it says about us that we need an advertisement to prove to ourselves that we need a new direction. Barack Obama ran an Infomercial for Change. I wonder if he consulted RonCO for tips on how to peddle his thoughts as he polished some old food dehydrator, flavor injector and rotisserie oven tactics to sell himself. There were testimonials from the WalMart demographic indicating how fabulous it would be and there were clear statements about how much better life would be. In fact, the only thing that was missing was the old..."It's not going to cost you $300.00, not $200.00, not $100.00.  This change could be yours for three easy payments of three hours in line at the local polling place."  I am glad we stopped short of the payment plan in this pitch for change. Don't get me wrong, my guy won the election, but what must be wrong with us as a society that we can't listen to ideas unless they are packaged up Ron Popeil style in a 30 minute Infomercial? We have a long way to come as a nation, let's all get ready for the work ahead

The second item on the docket today is the concept of President-elect:

This is a difficult concept for some people...especially for my friends working at the local K-Mart in the Bronx.

I made the mistake of going to K-Mart last week on Thursday. I say mistake, like I actually have a choice not to go, but unfortunately, in my neighborhood, it is my only choice for many household necessities. I rushed through the store grabbing what I needed, and rushed back to the check out line only to wait in line. There are two guarantees at K-Mart: 1) You will wait in line for way too long and 2) there are always four or five employees gathered around one register not helping anybody almost as if they are laughing at the people in line. Please open up more registers, stop talking and help get me out of this store! Anyway, on this night, the gathering of staff at one register allowed for me to have an eye opening experience.

As I placed my items near the scanner, my cashier looked over to the next register where the "staff meeting" was taking place and said, "They are still counting votes in California." Now, me being curious asked, "What are you tailing about?" She looked at me for the first time and said, "The Barack Obama election thing." I pressed again and wanted to know why she was concerned about the votes in California 48 hours after all precincts had reported and President-elect Obama won the state nearly 2-1 over John McCain and had a clear victory in the Electoral College. She said, "man, they are still counting votes in California. They aren't done counting the votes that is why he is just the President-elect and not the President!"

I took a step back, because in her excitement and pronunciation of the word President, she spit on me...just a little. I debated trying to explain the true meaning of President-elect and how Inauguration works and when it takes place and really help to educate her on the political process. Before I could make my decision, she chimed in with the following piece of incite. "My cousin Titi lives in California and alls I knows is that they aren't done counting. I'm gonna call her and get an update but until those votes are counted, he's just the President-elect" I now knew that I would not be able to compete with her knowledge and the budding political reporting career of cousin Titi. I grabbed my bags, took my receipt and parted withe the following. "Have a good evening. Good luck with California (and under my breath, "how uniformed are people? I can't wait to put this on a blog somewhere.")

That's the great thing about life...there are so many interactions that you just can't make up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jury Duty

Yep, that's right, despite my many attempts to get out of it, I finally had to do my civic duty and serve jury duty.  As often happens, I let my imagination get the better of me prior to serving and had convinced myself that I would get selected for a criminal trial of the most heinous variety with all kinds of awful evidence that would most definitely leave me scarred for life.  

Fortunately, it was nothing like that.  It was surprisingly simple and pain free.  On Monday I sat in the jurors' room all day waiting for my name to be called, which it wasn't.  Incidentally, I say all day, but that is not exactly accurate.  I arrived at 9:00am and we were sent to lunch at 12:30.  We returned at 2:00pm, and then were sent home at 3:00pm...this is my kind of work day!

Yesterday, the courts were closed for election day.  Today, I returned to jurors' room and crossed my fingers that I would yet again not hear my name.  We were told on the first day that if we made it to the end of Wednesday without being selected then we were finished with our civic duty for the next 6 years!  However, when I arrived today, the number of jurors left in the room was so small that I was sure we would all be called and  would have to serve.

So, just before lunch they rattled off another list of about 20 names.  Once again mine wasn't on it...except, right after, they said "Oh yeah, and Amber Wells"...Dang it! So we all filed into a court room for the selection process on a civil trial.  They drew 12 names out of hat to begin the selection process, which they said would start after lunch.  At 2pm we return to the room while the attorney for the plaintiff proceeds to ask each juror several questions.  After about 45 minutes, he and the other attorney take a short break.   Upon their return they announce that the trial would likely take another three days, and really, that's asking us to serve for too long, so instead, they will just release us all and start fresh tomorrow!  So, I was finished by 3:00pm.  

Not that I'm complaining, but this does not seem to be the most efficient system, especially when they explained on the first day that they are running out of qualified jurors.  Why not just guarantee that when you're called you have to serve for at least one week?  If you get on a case that doesn't last a whole day, then you serve on another one until your week is up.  Similarly, if you don't get selected on your first case, then you go back into the pool to be selected again.  This seems like it would make much more sense.  However, under the current system I only had to miss two days of work and now I'm set for six years!  

In any case, it was an interesting experience and I am extremely thankful that I didn't have to see any gory pictures or hear any gruesome details!

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