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Our next-door neighbor Katy is holding a presidential debate party tomorrow night for anyone too nervous to watch alone or with just the immediate family around.

Well, it’s not exactly a party. The first of three showdowns between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before the Nov. 8 election, Katy wrote in her invitation, is a night where “we may want to drink a bit and become belligerent or weep.”

Judging from the many responses she got, people around us are on edge. “I was in a quandary about how to face this,” wrote one invitee whose husband is out of town and who didn’t want to face the night alone.”This election has me in knots,” wrote another.

Our friend Catherine, who has a project due for work, said she’d break away if the debate becomes “too depressing” and she needs to be among friends.

A record 100 million Americans may tune in for tomorrow’s boxing match at Hofstra University, and Trump has been rising in the polls, incredibly, as he continues his campaign of bullying and division.

Meanwhile, the public discourse is getting sharper and more bitter.

A share image of emaciated Jews at a Nazi concentration camp has been circulating on Facebook, reminding people that “It didn’t start with gas chambers.”

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Educated Americans have watched their country take a sharp turn to the right, into a new territory that frightens. America’s proudest moment, when it freed Europe from German terror and helped end World War II, has fainted from the memory of Middle America. Tolerance and generosity has been replaced with hate, bigotry and fear.

I’ve had friends tell me they have trouble sleeping at night because they’re so worried about the upcoming election. Tomorrow’s debate may be Clinton’s last chance to turn things around.

All eyes will be on the former First Lady, Secretary of State and senator tomorrow to see if she holds up. Will she cough? Will she make an inappropriate remark? Will she be warm or cold? Will she be likable?

We’re holding our breath.

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