What is a nation?

I am an American. My parents were born in Oklahoma City and San Francisco. I was born in Arkansas. I was raised in Montana. I may be just slightly less American than apple pie, but only because I prefer strawberry rhubarb.

I'm not an Irish-American, I'm not a German-American, I'm not an Italian-American, I'm not even an Anglo-American. My whole life, I've only ever been an American.

Until I went to Russia. In Russia, "America" is a state (государство), but not a nationality (нация). In Russia, if you don't know what nationality you are, you're generously assumed to be a lying Jew (spoiler: my family enjoys prominent noses).

In my youth, I could simply never understand what was a "country," what was a "nation," and what was a "state." That's because in my mind America was all three: a country (purple mountains majesty, sea to shining sea, etc.), a state (government, Constitution), and a nation (all of us Americans).

Donald Trump, along with his supporters and enablers, have one vision of the American nation, which they'll have the opportunity to implement in the coming presidential term. But it is not the vision of the American nation expressed by actual Americans on November 8, 2016, a majority of whom voted for Hillary Clinton, one of the finest, most dedicated public servants in the history of the Republic.

I am an American, and my identity has nothing to do with the peculiarities of the Electoral College. I believe this is a nation, country, and state filled with people with a keen sense of justice. I'm full of pride for how the majority of the American people voted, against all the bigotries represented by Donald Trump.

I'm also a Christian. Religion is not an excuse to check out from the world we live in and focus on the world to come. Christ certainly didn't. The example Jesus set wasn't just of dying: it was also of absurd generosity to the most needy. That's the model of generosity we should all aspire to.

The next four years will be frightening in a lot of ways. The devastation about to be inflicted on the welfare state will send millions of people into unspeakable poverty. The return of "pre-existing conditions" to the American lexicon. The abandonment of any effort to fight climate change before hope is completely lost for the survival of low-lying communities and nations.

But I am an American. I love my country, my nation, and my state. The next four years aren't an experience I'm looking forward to, but for good or for ill we don't get to pick the obstacles we face in our lives. We just have to face them one at a time.