For the first time in my life, I’m part of a jury pool. I’ll be in that pool through June. The notice arrived in the mail early this month. Shortly afterwards, I was summoned and was required to appear at Nebraska District Court with 74 fellow citizens from Madison County.
The jury selection procedure for the civil trial was intellectually interesting and was not at all like TV or movie depictions I’ve seen. It was refreshing to see and hear all of the safeguards to protect objectivity, honesty, and the truth. Needless to say, I cannot mention anything about the case.
I just wrote that I found the safeguards to protect honesty to be refreshing. This is because so many of us are weary of the blatant dishonesty that we’re told each day from the highest office holders in the land. Their presence in the news is so ubiquitous that I don’t wish to mention their names. They’re becoming so infamous because of their fraudulence and duplicity that it’s upsetting to see their faces and hear their voices on news broadcasts.
Their dishonesty displays the lack of respect they have for the public and the country. The dishonesty calls into question the levels of respect they have for kindness, generosity, integrity, and moral courage. Most of all, it shows up in how they talk about and treat other people. It seems like the nation has normalized cruelty and dishonesty to the point where they are barely disparaged anymore.
So this brings me back to the jury selection process and why I found it to be so refreshing. First of all, we all swore an oath to be truthful and candid if asked any questions by the court or representatives of the plaintiff and the defendant. Second, this honesty is enforced by law. Third, the style of questioning allowed individuals to refine their answers to further get at the truth. The formal process of interrogating prospective jurors was very thorough and had to satisfy the plaintiff and the defendant.
After the first portions of the selection process were finished and the rest of us were dismissed by the judge, I felt good about the integrity and honesty of the twelve jurors and one alternate who were picked. I knew they would not take any shortcuts nor work according to their own sets of rules. The jury would decide the case fair and square. I felt full confidence in the fairness of the court.
During the drive home, I pondered honesty and truth. The platitudes about the truth are true. Honesty is more than not perjuring oneself, it is telling the truth and not lying by omission of facts. A person can say and write truthful things, but dishonesty also happens when a person fails to say and write about the relevant facts. This doesn’t only happen in courts of law; it happens in daily conversations and business transactions. Violations of trust are serious moral problems.
“Moral authority comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect.”–self improvement guru Stephen Covey
Mutual respect, integrity, and honesty are the binding agents that keep society together. When any of those are absent, society begins to break down. Honesty begins with fearlessly being authentic and true to being who we are. This ageless proverb is proven time and again, “The truth will set you free.”
When we hear and read the news, it’s clear that our species’ nature is despondent, dark, selfish, and often vile. We often overlook or disparage the people who are kind, graceful, and hunger for the truth. Be it Karma or legal justice, we can hope that the truth will set us all free.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. “All religions try to benefit people, with the same basic message of the need for love and compassion, for justice and honesty, for contentment.”