Staff Photo Illustration by Robin Rudd / In this photo illustration a man wears a protective mask with a Tennessee "I Voted" sticker.

America should give itself a pat on the back.

"Against all odds," we just had a great election, and as The New York Times put it in a Sunday editorial: "The 2020 election was not simply free of fraud, or whatever cooked-up malfeasance the president is braying about at this hour. It was, from an administrative standpoint, a resounding success. In the face of a raging pandemic and the highest turnout in more than a century, Americans enjoyed one of the most secure, most accurate and most well-run elections ever."

Georgia's Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger put it this way on Friday when he certified Georgia's election result: "Numbers don't lie." Joe Biden won the Peach State by just over 12,000 votes.

Michigan, too, certified its election result, making official Biden's win there by a margin of more than 150,000 votes — and, more importantly, 16 electoral votes. The state's electoral board voted 3-0 with one abstention to resist Trump's pressure to delay the process and overturn the results with false claims of voter fraud.

Just hours before, a group of more than 100 leading GOP national security experts — including former homeland security Secretary Tom Ridge — urged congressional Republicans on Monday to demand President Trump concede the election and immediately begin the transition to the incoming Biden administration.

Of course, the certainty that the election was fair and accurate isn't new.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Nov. 12 told us: "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, or was in any way compromised."

For his frankness and his reassurance to the American people, CISA Director Chris Krebs was swiftly fired by tweet of the president, Donald Trump — the loser.

Sooner or later, this long Trump nightmare will draw to a close.

We already know it's coming. In fact, it's almost here. Even Trump knows he's lost the presidency, but he can't stop lying to himself, so he flails on with one preposterous and pathetic scheme after another.

But forget him. He already has wasted too much of our oxygen and energy. We — and Joe Biden — are ready to move on, whether Trump is or not.

Forget, too, the nerve-racking moments of the election season when too many Americans were forced to wait in unacceptably long lines to vote — either in primary elections, early voting efforts or on Election Day, itself — especially if the voters were Black and poor.

Mark up as history, also, the chaos sown deliberately by a sitting president to undermine Americans' faith in the integrity of the democratic process and even to sabotage the already overburdened mail system to slow the receipt of absentee and mail ballots.

Even now, dismiss the heartburn that corrupt politicians like Trump continue to cause with odorous scheming to throw out ballots they assume were cast by the other side. (Funny, don't you think, that they claim the count must be wrong in Georgia where Joe Biden won, but not wrong or even challenged in Tennessee where Trump won?)

But let that go. File it away as history useful only to remember the next time campaign signs pop up in the grass like dandelions.

For now, as Thanksgiving nears, remember and give thanks for the good points — the massive logistical hurdles that election officials and court officers maneuvered to make voting safer — even possible — during a deadly disease outbreak.

Remember the way total strangers sent pizza to voters in long lines or put on street concerts to make standing there half a day be bearable.

Say a thank you for the far more than just a few ordinary citizens who have and are making it their business to ensure that as many votes are counted as possible. Offer another thank you for the scores of young people who volunteered to be new poll workers so the usual elderly and more COVID-vulnerable poll volunteers could stay home and safe.

Finally, offer a tip of the hat to the few but growing number of Republican leaders who are finding their backbones to stand up for democracy.

And make a note to those leaders that next time, they need to stand tall before the election to ensure there is enough money and attention given to making elections safe even during any crisis. Tell them they need to work now to ensure less voter suppression. Tell our leaders we need to thwart — not empower — disinformation.

For now, let's give ourselves and our country a round of rousing applause and a standing ovation.

From record voter turnout to creative volunteering to simple perseverance, we the people made democracy work.