As I watch the cruelty, incoherence and grim-jawed lies of the Trump and his malevolent functionaries while they efficiently and gleefully start to disassemble a once-great empire, I wonder at my own naïveté. There is a gnawing feeling that the end of democracy has finally arrived. America was always the gold standard for me, notwithstanding its occasional ill-considered ventures into good intentions with bad outcomes. I used to defend it against all-comers. I could trot out the Constitution, the unseating of Nixon, the transformative power of men like Martin Luther King, the integrity of the Supreme Court, and Jobs and Roth and Coltrane and Salk and Emma Lazarus. I have always had a bushel full of examples of American greatness to display when confronted with anti-Americanism. I lived there for 18 years. That is what I saw and experienced about America. And I always believed it with the certainty of the zealot. I believed that voters who had twice marked an x for Obama would not do...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now