Jury duty shakes my faith in humanity

As even a casual observer can tell I am not all that impressed by humanity en masse. Singularly, we shows signs of brilliance. Collectively I’m not sure how we ever made out of the swamps, let alone down from the trees. So you can imagine my feelings of dread as I and 13 others chosen pretty much at random from the Boston-area gene pool sat down to come up with a verdict after 10 days of a trial on the scintilating topic of the rights to run a golf course. Simply put, the high-bidder for a contract to run a city course charged favoritism after he didn’t get said contract. The city of course denied this. Although very ably represented the city had the drawback of having to put on the stand several people who are among the veracity challenged, or so I thought. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought this and within an hour we had reached a verdict. I was deeply impressed at the insight of my fellow jurors who were about as much of a demographic cross-section as you could want. By the end of the entire process I would have to say it was cynical preconceptions 0, actual experience 1.

Fortunately, before this could sink in and change my outlook of the world I came across the following about the George Bush Desert Classic:

Half of US still believes Iraq had WMD

According to a Harris Poll taken last month, a full 50% of U.S. respondents said they believe Iraq did have the forbidden arms when U.S. troops invaded in March 2003. What makes this even better: That’s up 14% since last year. The interesting question that this raises for me is, oddly enough, not given this level of credibility how is it the nation is not awash in deeds to the Golden Gate Bridge (housing bubble? what housing bubble?). No, what I want to know is how it is that the president’s approval ratings are so low if half of us think that the invasion of Iraq actually made sense? Furthermore, what has happened in the last year to give this idea more — not less — plausibility? Y’know the White House keeps complaining that the press is only reporting the bad news out of Iraq. Well, if this is the result they ought to be cheering each time another bombing is reported.

Or, in the words of one of my beloved Texas aphorisims: “You keep giving them books and giving them books and they keep chewing on the covers.”

While this might lead some to despair, I choose to follow the advice of Mencken: “Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband’s clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible.”

2 thoughts on “Jury duty shakes my faith in humanity

  1. For what it’s worth, I’m one of those crazy nuts who thinks that the invasion of Iraq makes a lot of sense (for reasons completely non-WMD-related) but still strongly disapproves of Bush in general.

    I think a lot of conservatives are very upset with his role in expanding federal involvement in areas appropriately left to the states (e.g. education) and creating the largest new entitlement program in over half a century (e.g. prescription drug program). It’s ironic, but an argument could be made that even Clinton had a more conservative domestic policy than Bush.

  2. While I have yet to hear a coherent explanation for Iraq (and trust me, I’ve read/heard a LOT), I thoroughly understand why conservatives would be PO’d at the Prez. In terms of spending, civil rights and general government intrusion into our lives he definitely doesn’t measure up to any definition of conservative. Then again neither did Reagan … why is it the one’s who bill themselves as conservative are the ones who do the most expansion of government? Where are the deficit hawks when we really need them. Hell, the only real complaint the conservatives had about Clinton was that he was stealing all their best lines.

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