I was browsing through our company calendar yesterday when the following entry caught my attention
Chuck - Summoned to Jury Duty!
I was familiar with the concept of the jury duty from American books and movies, but only when seeing our American colleagues being summoned to this duty I've started to fully grasp how pervasive is this tradition in American society. For a very good description of a jury duty example check Jeff Atwood's blog post.
Europeans like to mock the United States as a capitalistic dictatorship completely forgetting that America is solving her problems by her own for the last 230 years, while Europe countries have a long and persistent tradition of slipping from democracy to dictatorship at the first sign of trouble in society. I have no illusion that Europe has made any substantial progress in the last decades (just observe recent skirmishes between Spain and UK about Gibraltar) and unless we manage to learn from Americans how to run our affairs by the people and for the people we have a poor chance to avoid more wars within our lifetimes. Judging from complete incompetency of some highly intelligent people to have a constructive debate that I've experienced at yesterday's parents meeting we are still very far from a democracy that would be based on citizen responsibility not on the dictate of the state.