My native land is making the kind of history no one would want to claim - lawmakers have, for the first time, impeached a president twice.
Friends and family in the US are puzzling over what's happening - with President Donald Trump, in my view, inciting followers to storm the Capitol last week, and this week, getting impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time.
This has never happened before. No president has been impeached twice and none have ever been convicted.
When Trump was impeached in 2019, not a single Republican voted in favour. This time, 10 Republican members voted for the measure charging Trump with "inciting an insurrection". Five people died in the January 6 riots. Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming said there had "never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States".
Republican Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington State voted for impeachment, saying others, "including myself, are responsible for not speaking out sooner — before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob".
Those still supporting the GOP (Grand Old Party) should ask themselves what their party stands for.
Republicans under Trump have gone from hating Democrats to hating Democracy itself.
More than 130 of them voted to overturn the 2020 election results, even after dozens of court challenges filed by Trump and his cronies had been thrown out, finding no evidence of systemic voter fraud.
Not that it mattered to the Trumpers, who believed the Donald, when he threw a Twitter tantrum and declared he was robbed of the election. Thank goodness the platform (and others) have kicked him off. No doubt he'll be back - and like a political version of Whack-a-Mole, other platforms will have to ban him, too.
Anyone who believes Trump won the election is a victim of mass delusion and has fallen so far down the right-wing rabbit hole, there may be no hope of climbing out. How will those Republicans who voted to overturn the will of the people explain to constituents that their votes, and those of their neighbours, shouldn't count?
Federal authorities have warned the Capitol breach will be a "significant driver of violence" for armed militia groups and racist extremists targeting the presidential inauguration next week. The New York Times reported, "... extremists aiming to trigger a race war may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States".
While many of my compatriots and former coworkers are glued to the news, a subset of Americans believe the Capitol riot was no big deal. "Forgive and move on," they say.
This, to insurrectionists who not only threatened violence, hurt and killed people, but also shattered windows and graffitied statues. If that wasn't enough, they also smeared their own faeces and tracked brown footprints around the Capitol building.
There is no forgiveness and no moving on for Trump and his extremist followers. I believe their actions were lawless, and resulted in lost lives and damage to a historic building while scarring psyches of people around the world.
I think of my friends here in Aotearoa, in Australia, France, Luxembourg and South America who used to see the US as a shining example of democracy.
What is the States now? A cautionary tale. A reminder that a cult of violence and ignorance combined with the viral spread of lies is a lethal combination. A warning there is no limit to the depths a leader will sink when he believes he is above the law. A lesson that conspiracy theories can kill.
Rebuilding shattered trust takes time. I will always wrestle with the question of why people I believe are mostly good could support a movement and a man who in my view seeks to destroy the very society that brought him fame and billions of dollars in fortune (plus one billion in debt, according to Forbes magazine).
How can I trust someone who looks the other way when a president, in my opinion, uses the country's office to terrorise people he doesn't like, while enriching himself and his family?
I would like to tell you the MAGA crowd is minuscule - that only a small fraction of the American public would perpetrate the kind of acts we saw last week and the kind that may recur in capitol buildings around the country in coming days.
But 74 million Americans enabled the MAGA-gots by voting for Trump. Forty-seven per cent of the electorate filled in the circle next to his name, even after four years of what Washington Post columnist Matt Bai called a "national seminar in mismanagement and bigotry".
As one family member told me recently, "The silver lining of Covid is the way Trump handled the crisis tipped the election towards Joe Biden. Without the pandemic, we might still have Trump." The cost: nearly 400,000 American lives lost.
And yet, Thursday at the Beehive, a small group stood with Trump flags and signs like, "Masks Kill Lives". What does that even mean? My view is send that protester and the others to the States. Let them see what a scam Covid is after they get sick and placed in an overcrowded hospital. They can experience the US healthcare system and emerge with tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in medical bills.
We will be nervously watching what unfolds during the next week. And I'll be looking over my shoulder the next four years, wondering if America can once again govern itself using reason and facts, rather than fear and lies.