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Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. That all encompassing sense of dread. This time tomorrow, the world could be completely different.

I felt this way before I went to see the doctor about heart palpitations when I was 24. And again last year after getting an ultrasound to examine the ongoing pain in my abdomen. To be honest, I feel this way at least once, if not several, times a year.

You see, for the least 13 years of my life (ever since those “heart palpitations”) I’ve been suffering from what the medical professionals call Generalized Anxiety Disorder. And America, I think you may be suffering from an acute case of it yourself.

How many times have you refreshed FiveThirtyEight in the last hour? Or rechecked The New York Times to see if there’s finally a story about that time Trump murdered someone? Did you recently look at to see if they advise buying one way plane tickets to Vancouver now, or waiting because the prices might drop soon? Yeah, I thought so.

But look, as my therapist constantly tells me: you don’t even have the diagnosis yet, let alone the prognosis.

Now all indications are that Hillary will be elected and Trump defeated like the loser he is. But let’s say that voice inside your head is actually right, and by some chance (well, a 31.6 percent chance according to the last time I checked FiveThirtyEight) Trump gets elected.

What changes then? Nothing, really. Just the fact that you now know who will be President on January 20th, 2017. That’s not “you have three months to live,” but more like the doctor telling you “in three months you will get cancer.” So yeah, you’ve got some time to cope with all this. Remember Brexit? We all thought that was the beginning of the end for Western Civilization. Well if the European Union is collapsing, I haven’t noticed because the only thing British on my radar these days is Netflix’s lavish new series The Crown. It’s sooo good.

What happens when Trump actually gets sworn in, presumably with Putin by his side to bear witness? Well, we don’t really know. Sure, it’s a scary prospect, but to be clear, we’ve never been in this situation before. We were wrong when we all figured Trump would just go away in the first place, so maybe our worst fears about him bringing down the Republic will also turn out to be incorrect.

Let’s also not forget that our system of democracy has many mechanisms in place to try and keep a President from exercising absolute power. To be fair, these days it seems like the mechanisms are there to prevent the President from exercising any power. But if Trump were elected, this oft critiqued vetocracy of ours would suddenly be the envy of all our international neighbors courting demagogues of their own.

Plus, if we are honest with ourselves, we know a Clinton victory doesn’t suddenly solve all our many problems. And a Clinton presidency would be a rather wonky and dull affair. On the other hand, if Trump does find his narrow path to the White House, we could have that notorious Trump publicist “John Miller” come out of retirement, calling into Good Morning America on a regular basis to express what a “Great, just really, really great job this President is doing.”

And if all else fails, America, I have some Xanax. It’s not much, but you can have it – I never use it during panic attacks because — like any reputable neurotic — I’m convinced it will kill me.

Jesse Stone

Jesse B. Stone loves science and writing. Apologies if you were looking for the "Jesse Stone" played by Tom Selleck in the CBS movies.

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