A couple of weeks ago, we were sitting on our patio, having a lively discussion with my friend, Scottish Woman. She and her husband have recently become American citizens. Does this mean I now have to call her “American Woman”? She was telling us about their swearing-in ceremony and the celebrations that came after. We had missed it, because we were
looking at caskets celebrating our anniversary by the lake.
Anyway, it sounded like she had a great time, coming home to a lawn full of American flags and friends dropping in with apple pie. Not knowing anything about expats living in this country, I reminded her that now she’ll pay taxes. She informed me that they have been paying taxes for the whole 10 years they’ve been here. I said, oh, well now you’ll be able to serve in the military. At which point CGMan told us that military service does not require actual citizenship, (a non-citizen cannot be commissioned or become a warrant officer). To which I replied, oh, well now you’ll be able to buy a house, or own land. Then I realized they already own their house.
At this point, I’m asking myself what’s the big deal then, about becoming a citizen of this fine country, if you can do all that stuff and not be?
And then I remembered… She’ll get to vote!
When I was in school, that is one of the
many few couple lessons I remember. The right to vote. My teacher was quite passionate on the subject. He told us that our right to vote wasn’t just handed to us, we had to fight for it, and women had to fight even longer! It was something to be protected because without it, our country would fall apart. He also said you would lose your right to vote if you were convicted of a felony. I remember thinking at the time, I would never commit a crime because I didn’t want to lose my right to vote. It was that special to me. I felt empowered knowing I had a vote.
Oooh! With her right to vote, she’ll also get to serve jury duty!
I said to her right then, that if she got called to jury duty before I did, with having been a citizen for all of a fortnight, I would be devastated. You see, I have been a registered voter since I was 18 years old, (which really hasn’t been all that long. Okay, it’s been ages!) and I have yet to be called for jury duty. That was another thing the history teacher was impassioned about, the honor that is jury duty. The honor. Oh, I couldn’t wait to be on a jury of someone’s peers. To be a part of jurisprudence.
So I have been waiting all these long years. Do you know that the Marine was called for jury duty when he was just 18?! He had been registered to vote for all of six months. He also happened to be in boot camp when they sent for him. I had to call the court and explain that he was very busy serving our country in a different way and could not appear for jury assignment. I then asked her if I could come in his stead. She said no, I would have to wait until I was selected. That was almost 10 years ago.
Well, Scottish/American Woman needn’t worry that our friendship is on the line, because guess who finally got a jury summons?
That’s right, 27 years of waiting and voting and waiting some more… I am finally being called to fulfill my civic duty! By the way, don’t think for a moment I didn’t hear you all moan at the mention of jury duty. Just a reminder…be nice to those who still believe in the excitement that is Santa Claus and jury duty.
I can honestly say, I’ve used my years wisely in preparation for this honorable duty…
I have read all of John Grisham’s courtroom books.