If you’re like me, sleep (or lack of) has taken on a whole new dimension now that we’re in the final sprint toward election day 2020. The routine goes something like this.
4 am: Startle awake with an unshakable four-year-old knot of dread. Open eyes and await adjustment to darkness. Reach for eyeglasses. Grasp for phone. Avoid knocking over water glass. Review New York Times and Washington Post headlines. Dip into Instagram. Engage in futile mental gymnastics to expel anxiety. Rummage around in the recesses of brain synapses to capture words to convey disgust, anger, and fear. Cancel failed brain synapses. Resign to the fact that words are wholly inadequate.
5 am: Stop reading news breaks. Put down the phone. Surrender to emotional exhaustion. Close eyes. Break out all idiosyncratic tricks to fall back asleep. Wake up at a reasonable time. Go about daily work and tasks while harboring dread about the next news cycle. Repeat the next day.
If you can relate to the above, you may want to watch an emotional video recently aired by Jimmy Kimmel. The video, produced by Kimmel and his wife, Molly, catalogues the struggles of their son, Billy Kimmel, who was born with congenital heart defects — a pre-existing condition that has required multiple surgeries. Kimmel, Molly, and their production crew have managed to find the images and the words that should – if Americans are paying attention and if enough of us still care about one another – move voters to vote with their hearts and save protections for the more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
I’m pretty certain Kimmel’s video won’t derail my 4 am routine, but it sure gives me a glimmer of hope.