Through the dismal drone of the presidential race, the basic absurdity of which was captured by a recent Post article noting that the candidates spend more hours raising money than meeting voters, sounded two reminders of America's better nature. Despite the inevitably annoying coverage, the Olympics are working their magic: Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, the women's soccer team and so many more athletes. Go USA.

In another example of American teamwork, ingenuity and innovation, there was the Mars landing this week. Truly incredible in its intricacy and precision, this daring mission will help answer many mysteries of Mars. The jubilation in the NASA control center was really inspiring.

When I was young, I took American supremacy in sports and space as givens. Our wins were routine, almost boring, and celebrating them seemed a little chauvinistic. But times have changed, and the victories seem sweeter now. And a much-needed antidote to the decline in our democracy, something else we used to lead the world in.