First, how are you doing? How is your anxiety today? How was your morning doomscroll? Careful, the rampant feed refresh can be corrosive, your unease calcifying into full-body exhaustion or even rage. How many 140-character opinions have you read? How much conjecture? Are you panning for facts like a pioneer in the gold rush?

I love a good fact: pub trivia or those little cheeses in Trivial Pursuit. There’s something so reassuring and comforting about undiluted certainty, about accuracy. It makes me feel safe. Sure, I love a good rumor, too—mostly harmless curios of gossip pivoted on a slither of fact as thin as a crescent of a toenail—but it’s real facts that I can’t quit. These days, even with help from Twitter disclaimers, I’m finding it harder and harder to see the truth. To sift fact from widespread fiction. To know what I believe to be true—that healthcare is a human right, not a socialist bugbear, for example—and how that factors with these exit polls. Does it not seem like common sense to protect the most vulnerable, to wield power in a way that doesn’t dominate but safeguards? Have we been naive in hoping, in believing? Doubt that change is possible is creeping in like carbon monoxide, disbelief that things can even be this close at this stage.

As we hold our collective breath for a result, it can feel impossible to trust that we all breathe the same air. Surely, we’re all experiencing the same injustice? The same civil disquiet? The same transparent spin and denial? Surely, we all want to extinguish the intolerance, the conspiracy-driven arguments, the pussy-grabbing? It’s difficult to get your head around the constant rhetoric, the insinuation and the allegation, the throwaway brags of criminality, the mockery of the democratic system itself. But somehow millions of people are removing their masks and voting for it. 

We’re in a no man’s land right now, an in-between, waiting for the dust to settle. We’re neither victorious nor defeated, we’re in the slipstream of uncertainty. And what’s to celebrate whichever way this goes? Triumph doesn’t eradicate the opposition. As the swing states swan in like they’re fashionably late for a party, we can get caught up in appearances, in orangeness, or a sellotaped tie. But these are side notes to the fact vacuum, to a global climate of aggressive opposition based on un-statistically founded fears, migration for example. The drive for polarizing, clickable hate bait has left truth itself behind. America, like Britain, is a divided nation in need of triage, emergency attention to staunch the hateful bleeding. Truth is the only bandage to heal this global sandstorm. We need to be honest with ourselves to create systems that support everyone, not just the powerful. 

Despite the celebrity consensus, your vote was not a selfie. It was not about vanity, a chance to look your best. It was an opportunity to care for other people, to inch the needle to a fairer position, to do the right thing. After voting, you can feel so helpless as the election cycle whips around you, information pouring in while you’re forced to sit back and absorb it. But as votes are being counted, I want you to do something. I want you to look after yourself. We have a few more frenzied days ahead of us, I’m afraid, so hydrate, take regular breaks, read something timeless that isn’t related to the news. Eat something green. Watch something funny you’ve seen before. You’ll be needed whatever the result, and you’re no good to anybody if you burn out. After the election is called, after the virus is curbed because masks became mandatory, there will still be work to do. 

Source: vogue.com