Well, here we are in one hell of a pickle. America may have been here before but never quite as deep in the weeds as we are now. Just weeks away from the two major political conventions both parties are committed to unpopular octogenarians for the highest office in the land. We are having a come to Jesus moment in the world’s greatest democracy. A crazed lunatic who speaks in tongues leads a cult of true believers who have kidnapped the Republican Party while the Democrats watch in disbelief as a decent compassionate man who lead us out of the wilderness succumbs to the ravages of age in front of our eyes.

And how do we react when confronted with this emerging train wreck? Think of the obsequious royal court and cowardly public crowd in Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes. We tie ourselves up in knots in an attempt of justify the unjustifiable. Or, we hide our heads under the blanket instead of blurting out the truth like the child hero in Andersen’s folktale. Is democracy past its peak? With authoritarianism on the rise around the world, the answer is still out in spite of encouraging recent signs in Britain and France.

Wisdom does not increase with age. At least not automatically. From what we see today in America it seems to decline. Knowledge and experience and judgment go hand in hand with reason and emotion, something two people as different as David Hume and Blaise Pascal agreed on. To paraphrase Einstein: reason alone is lame, passion alone is blind.

What does a wise person do when there are no good options? Create new options. It isn’t that hard to imagine a democracy that works. There have been times when it has worked for us. Most of the time in fact. There isn’t much time left but I’m optimistic we can pull this off. Come on America, buck up.