In late August, I was hot (cuz I live in Austin) and a bit tired as I had been working a lot so I was really looking forward to my vacation. As I was making plans for my down time, I got a letter informing me that it was once again my turn to appear for jury duty and the dates were as soon as I was scheduled to be back from vacation. At first, I was really annoyed and thought about how inconvenient for me. After pouting for a few days I remembered that if I ever found myself in the unfortunately situation of needing a jury of my peers, I would not just need people who had nothing better to do with their time but people who could think for themselves, have open minds and think critically.
As we approach the midterm elections and as politics in our country have reached a seemingly fever pitch, I think now is a good time to consider our civic duty.
I find myself saying this a lot about food, social media and a host of other things but it absolutely applies here. Any time you have a negative thought about yourself or someone else… Who benefits? This answer is different for every situation but I think it’s a good place to start. Examining who benefits from your pain or separateness from others can help you challenge thoughts or beliefs that may not be serving you anymore.
A right and a privilege therefore a duty?
In a time when women’s rights are being highlighted a great deal in our culture, I am struck that I live in a place where that matters. I can march or openly rant, post, wear inciting clothing, etc. If I lived in a lot of other parts of the world, I could not do those things. My opportunities for education, independence of thought and person, the ability to vote and openly voice my opinion would be subject to what is allowed or given to me by the men around me. This alone makes me think that my civic duty is all that more important.
What are my duties?
- Jury duty
- Taking note and action on injustice as I see it
- Supporting initiatives and causes that matter to me in my local community as well as our community at large
- Following the laws
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, teacher and politician. He spent a lot of his time and energy thinking about how to live as better citizens. Believing that better rulers would inspire their people to live and be better people, Confucius wrote about the nation-family and that the ruler (or government) should be like our father that protects and leads us to a greater good and we should serve the nation as we serve our families.
In Confucius’ time, China was ruled by war kings and emperors. We have elected officials but I do think that our elected (meaning of our choice) officials should be leading and protecting us for us, not for their own gain. He never found a perfect leader by his standards and we probably won’t either but we can look. We have the ability to challenge ourselves and our leaders to be be something approaching the “more perfect union” that the constitution talks about. But it requires action for each of us.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!