As the Psalms tell us, our "days are like grass ... like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." When that day should come none of us can say for certain, except that we know for certain that such a day will come. Whether it be tomorrow or decades from now, all of us will join together in the same fate. For that reason, each of us are tasked with making the most of each day, even in the smallest of circumstances. We must all be able to answer "yes" to one question: Did I live righteously in the few moments I had?
That is why, regardless of its overall worldly or historical significance, the vote we cast on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is the most important vote of our lives.
Let us travel back in time for a moment ... to November 7, 2006 ... in a local hardware store in the heart of Helena, Montana. It's 10:06 AM.
The local polls have opened and the store's owner (we'll call him Jack Rolo) has yet to decide whom to punch the box for: Democrat Jon Tester or Republican Conrad Burns. While Rolo voted for Burns in 2000, he's less enthusiastic this time around. For Rolo, support for the Iraq War has dwindled and it looks more like a quagmire with each report about an IED blast killing another decorated soldier; he wants an exit plan and is dissatisfied with the fact that Burns has provided none. Plus, that whole Abramoff scandal doesn't sit well with him.
Though Rolo doesn't necessarily agree with Tester on everything, he likes the fact that he could shake things up a bit. Watching the debates, Rolo also felt that Tester came across as more relatable, more passionate. In Tester, Rolo sees a Montanan who wants to represent Montana values in D.C.; in Burns, Rolo sees an establishment politician who perhaps made himself too comfortable.
"To hell with it," Rolo tells himself. "Let's see what Tester can do."
At 12:05 PM, Rolo punches the box for Democrat Jon Tester. Later that night, Burns loses to Tester by less than 3,000 votes: 198,302 (49%) to 195,455 (48%). The votes are so close that Tester is not declared the victor until the following day.
Flash forward to April 7, 2017 ... on the floor of the United States Senate ... Jon Tester, the man who Rolo elected to represent "Montana values" in D.C., votes "No" to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Flash forward to October 6, 2018 ... also on the floor of the United States Senate ... Jon Tester, a man who supports abortion rights, votes "No" to confirm Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This rejection comes weeks after Tester's Democratic colleagues enacted a scorched earth smear campaign to tarnish the Trump nominee as an attempted rapist based on baseless, evidence-free allegations. An innocent man stood at the foot of the gallows; rather than break with the mob that called for the man's head, Tester chose to join it.
No remorse. No regrets.
Can you now see the butterfly effect of a single vote in the wrong direction? Or not even that, a vote that doesn't vote at all? One vote could mean the difference between decency and cruelty, between civilization and mob-rule, between a Justice Amy Coney Barrett and a Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, between a history defined by those who adhere to core principles, like the presumption of innocence, and a history defined by the corrupt.
Tomorrow, history will happen no matter what we do. By 10:00 PM PST (probably earlier), America will have a new generation of lawmakers – men and women who will advise and consent on judicial nominees and who will play a role in defining the future.
When that time comes, when the wind blows over the grass and the sun sets over the field, will you be able to answer "yes" to the question: Did I live righteously in the few moments I had? May God help us if the answer is no.