The Week in Politics

The Week in Politics: The Old Ball & Chain


It must be getting hard to find jurors in DeKalb County, Georgia.

To make it easier, the county put its juror questionnaire form online and made it all fancy, with pull-down and drop-down menus and auto-fills. Pretty savvy.

But when one citizen got to the “list your occupation” section of the online juror form and started to type “sales” she got quite a surprise: the autofill displayed SLAVE.

Now, we know it’s a little hard for some southerners to embrace the way the Civil War ended, or at least stop buying images of the Confederate Flag. But this is a little extreme. Was it a mistake? Does it reflect a new acceptance among criminals regarding who can be considered a “peer” and qualified to sit on their jury? Or does Georgia have plans to bring back the institution — and this was the equivalent of running it up the Confederate flagpole to test public reaction?

The county took “slave” out of the autofill database when complaints came in. But perhaps they should have left it. With Walmart employees being forced to work on cherished holidays and needing food drives to feed themselves, with McDonald’s telling employees how to live on less rather than pay them more money, and with the 1% becoming today’s landholders and eligible voters, maybe the institution really has started a comeback of sorts. And maybe DeKalb County was the first to call a fig a fig and a trough a trough.