Long before Coronavirus became a cause for worry, I developed insomnia. I’m often awake at 2, 3 and 4 a.m.
So I play this game — I wake up in the dark and guess what time it is. Then I look at the digital clock on the dresser.
If the first red numeral is a 5, I am ecstatic. I stretch for a few seconds, get up and start my morning routine: coffee, writing, practicing my español.
But if the first red digit is a 2, 3 or 4, I try to get back to sleep. Deep breathing, meditation, going over Spanish verb tenses in my head (that should do the trick, right?).
Sometimes these things work. Mostly, they don’t. And now there’s COVID-19 to think about in the dark. So I get up and make coffee, and my first writing exercise is scribbling “nap” in my day planner.
When did all of this start? A few years ago.
Why did all of this start? Donald Trump.
That’s why, without a medical degree, I have diagnosed myself with “Trumpsomnia.”
It’s OK to laugh at that a little, but it’s not really meant to be funny.
People are dying because of Trump, including COVID-19 victims and men, women and children at the southern border and in detention “facilities” throughout the country.
I know, I know . . . “What about Obama? He did this, he did that, blah, blah, blah.”
Stop. Save your what-about-ism. This is not the same, and on some level I think you know that. Obama wouldn’t have spewed a series of lies about COVID-19 in a pathetic attempt to make himself look good. Obama was no saint, he deported immigrants like crazy and yes, he did open a “camp” at Fort Sill for a few months due to an sudden influx of unaccompanied minors.
But Obama didn’t have an unconstitutional policy of separating families. He didn’t call people from Mexico rapists and immigrants “animals,” as Trump has. Toward the end of his second term, Obama backed off from mass deportations. Few remember that in January 2016 he started a program to keep asylum-seeking families together in the U.S. while their cases moved through the legal system.
Trump killed the program in 2017. He is cruelty and racism on steroids.
That’s what keeps me up at night. That’s what sent me to Tijuana three times last year to help migrants and asylum seekers, who are fleeing horrific persecution and asking the United States to save their lives.
And Trump’s cruelty exists throughout the U.S., not just at the southern border. I’ve lost track of the number of deaths in immigration detention camps.
Trump is what led me to tell the story of a Central New York family needlessly torn apart for eight months because ICE had nothing better to do than to go after a hard-working family man and try to ruin his life. I know this man and his family. They didn’t deserve this. Eight months of trauma and separation, a father of three behind barbed wire in a detention center presided over by rude, sneering ICE employees that I had the “pleasure” of dealing with face-to-face more than once.
That family is together now, recovering, but thousands of families just like yours and mine are still being traumatized by the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
If Trump were still just a thuggish white-collar criminal in Manhattan, I never would have had to tell the story of that local family, or of the many other men, women and children I’ve met in Mexico who are decent, hard-working people.
Because there’s money to be made for himself and his cronies, this mendacious “president” is doing what he can to destroy the planet, establish an authoritarian state and ruin America’s standing in the world.
People have died because of this evil man and the gutless enablers in his administration and in Congress. Many more will suffer and die until he and the cowardly Trumpublicans are no longer in power.
So that’s why I don’t sleep. It’s called Trumpsomnia.