Dear British people, including all of you who live here but aren’t from here, or are from here but don’t live here,
Hello. It’s me. I’m sitting here, on the eve of the most important election in my short lifetime, tuning in to the exhaustive emotional energy so many people give during these things. These elections, of which we have had so many in the last few years, which smash the best and worst of this country together – and in the end, someone wins, and someone loses. I’ve talked about political gameplay on this blog before, so I won’t go into it at length now. But I must remind you, it’s more than a point scoring game; it’s not Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn who will win, but everyone and everything they represent, and their words and actions, upon a victory, will be carried on the wind far and wide to nations across the ocean, whispering, ‘This is who we really are.’ That’s hard. It’s bleak, too, if you play for the losing side – feeling underrepresented en masse is a perfect excuse to say and do whatever you want, not caring at all, striding through life with blinkers turned inward, hitting each personal milestone in echoey silence and never looking yourself too hard in the mirror.
No matter what happens tomorrow – and truly, none of us know how this is going to go down – finding an excuse to harden up and lose faith is the easiest and most dangerous path to take. So many people have done it already. Those who say things like, ‘They’re all the same!’, or, ‘Nobody cares what I think!’. It’s so simple, so seamless, to slip into apathy. After all, elections have changed. The development of technology at such break-neck speed has presented a tornado of ethical challenges. I don’t think any soul on this earth predicted what it could mean for politics, and we are in deep water now. Being online during an election is like standing in a river with the water gushing all around you, so loudly you can’t hear yourself think, and you’ve got to try to swim to shore – except shore is moving around, melting away, flying off, coming back for a second and collapsing in on itself, and you don’t know if you’ll make it there before you drown in the bullshit. The truth is subjective at the best of times; the shore has always been a moving part. Nowadays, though, it feels like it’s not there at all.
It’s hypocritical of me to say, ‘Try not to worry.’ All I do is worry. About losing the NHS, growing old on an American system, having babies if I’m scraping the barrel. About women and children locked up in refugee detention centres, and even more disabled people dying hungry in their homes. About another Grenfell happening. And, making matters even worse, being stuck feeling guilty and angry that there are people I know who don’t worry about those things, not even for a second. But I don’t want you to despair, if you’re scared too. If you don’t worry about those things, there might be a sneaky little voice, right there in the back of your mind, asking you why. Perhaps pass the mic for a second.
Don’t despair. I know that’s easy for me to say, when I’m not in so precarious a position as to be killed by austerity measures. I know that. I’m sorry if not despairing is not an option for you. I promise to fight. If there’s anything the run up to this election has shown me, it’s that the people are ready to fight for their rights. Cringeworthy as that sentence might be, it’s very important; when the people become apathetic, the bastards will see it, they’ll be waiting, and they’ll take the things you need, and the things you love, away from you. If tomorrow your side is defeated, understand that it might be the right thing. It might also definitely be the wrong thing. Whatever thing it is, grieve, rest, cry, sleep, accept, and stand up again. We need each other.
Love and safety to everyone on election day,