In the Emperor Meiji's (明治天皇) Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors (軍人勅諭) of 1882, there is a phrase which has always resonated with me...
Duty is heavier than a mountain; death is lighter than a feather.*Whereas some might read this as reinforcing the Japanese soldier's (sailor's) willingness to die for his Emperor, in reality this has a much deeper meaning.
Duty is hard, doing the right thing is hard, fulfilling one's obligations is hard. In comparison, just lying down and dying is easy. Think, if you will, of one of Juvat's favorite expressions, "Never give up, never surrender."
Now I've been performing my civic duty as a juror in Rhode Island Superior Court for over a week now. Odds are pretty good that all of this week as well will be taken up with this duty, this obligation. While it is, at times, exasperating to be "stuck with" this duty, I have to ask myself, "If not me, who?" There are many in this country who may not take this duty as seriously as I do.
Quite honestly, I have lost sleep over this case. It is so important to do the right thing and to pay attention to the facts of the case. After all, my actions will have a huge impact on someone's life, no matter which way we lean in this case.
Again, I can't discuss any particulars of the case, as much as I want to, I swore an oath not to do so. In some ways it's a very lonely task, though I share a room with eleven other jurors, at night I am alone with my thoughts, my worries, and the evidence laid before us.
It is somewhat daunting, a very serious responsibility. When I think of this as doing something for "the State," I have to remind myself, we, the people, are "the State." If we did not do this duty, who would? It's a duty I feel is owed to my fellow citizens. Still and all, it's a very hard thing.
I have kidded around with friends and colleagues prior to being selected for this obligation about "ways to get out of jury duty." Yes, some ideas were funny indeed, most were lame. Now, having embarked on this journey, I feel that attempting to get out of jury duty for trivial reasons, because one can't be bothered, it will interrupt my life... or a dozen other reasons, is cowardice of a very profound nature.
On the other hand, anyone who would actively seek jury duty has to be slightly deranged.
That's how I feel about it anyway.
So for the next few days you're going to be seeing a lot of Juvat posts (thank the Lord he visited the Air Force Museum not long ago, neh?)
I know, a real "hardship" that.
I'll pop in from time to time. For now, read your Juvat. Don't let his head get too big.
You know how those fighter jocks are...
* 義務は山よりも重いです。死は羽よりも軽いです (Gimu wa yama yori mo omoidesu. Shi wa hane yori mo karuidesu.)