I guess that’s what can happen when the ideas and principles that your parents, schools, community and culture drilled into you as a child don’t seem to matter anymore.
If you’re wondering whether this story is about to veer into politics, then the answer is yes – and no. It’s less about politics than it is decency.
And if you’re asking, “Isn’t this supposed to be Men’s Health?”, then the answer is yes. You bet it is. But you see, when a morality black hole opens up in the world, that becomes a mental-health issue from where we’re standing. We’ve given this one its own acronym: TADD.
Having access to CNN 24/7, I watched more than enough of the Senate impeachment trial into the conduct of Donald Trump on January 6, the day when a mob stormed the Capitol Building in Washington DC to interrupt the certification of the 2020 US election – or, more simply, to stop Trump being kicked out and replaced by his duly elected successor, Joe Biden.
No need to recap every detail. If you’ve read this far, you know the gist.
On the charge that Trump, president at the time, incited the riot, prosecutors presented a case as airtight as a spaceship. He fed his supporters the lie of election fraud, riled them into a fit of righteous anger, and aimed them at the Capitol where hundreds of US lawmakers, including all his Republican colleagues, were assembled.
People died that day (and subsequently), many others were injured, traumatised or both, and the seat of American democracy was vandalised.
But of the 50 Republican Senators who watched and heard the evidence, only seven voted to convict. As a result, Trump was acquitted and, as things stand, could run for president again in 2024.
Most of us were taught some pretty basic stuff as kids. Stuff that was supposed to serve us well all our lives.
Don’t be a sore loser. Congratulate the winner (even if through tears). Tell the truth. Own up to your mistakes. Don’t cheat. Don’t hurt other people.
As we grew up, the lessons became more sophisticated but no less fundamental. Show integrity. Be accountable. Know that everyone is equal before the law. Trust that truth and justice will prevail.
Events in the US have eroded all these foundation stones on which good character and an optimistic view of the human condition are built.
So, what now?
Having spoken to a bunch of experts across a range of fields, here’s our advice. Acknowledge the disillusionment you’re feeling. Talk to family and friends who share it. Then turn it into a plan by asking – and answering – three questions.
Regardless of what others may have become, what sort of man do you want to be? What sort of people do you want to spend time with? And what kind of politicians do you want leading you?
Maybe there is no turning back for a country on the other side of the world you once saw as a beacon.
But you still have your own country to look after – perhaps more attentively than you have up until now.