“There is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some diehard’s vote.” — David Foster Wallace, novelist, essayist, short story writer (1962-2008)

It was a little after 8 p.m. Saturday after an election that, after four days of vote counting, had determined the outcome of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president- and vice president-elect; both would, on Jan. 20, 2021, be sworn in to take over for current President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

As Harris spoke, the Maine Public Television camera panned the crowd. The emotion was palpable, and these eyes began to moisten. I don’t cry much and did not expect it. My wife pushed the tissue box in my direction. I chose to let the tissues stay, allowing emotions to bubble up.

The feeling would become clearer as Biden was introduced, continuing to offer hope and love to all people; man or woman, straight and queer, transgender, black, white, Asian, Hispanic. All people. Imagine.

The hope on people’s faces was one of triumph; not about who lost, but who won and what that stood for. Glass ceilings are symbolic but important. When Rosa Parks was on the bus and then Jackie Robinson entered a major league baseball game as the first black player, glass ceilings shattered, opening what has become a very long and winding road. Having Kamala as our first woman vice president, and her heritage, will not make things OK immediately, but they open the doors to change.

A record vote saw Joe and Kamala take down Donald and Mike by 4 million votes; a lot but hardly a mandate, as Democrats lost seats in the House and did not gain Senate control. Additionally, 70-plus million people were on the sad side, trying to absorb defeat that rested in extremely close contests in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia; all going for the Biden-Harris ticket and their message of hope, science, and normalcy.

Now, with country needing to heal, President Trump continues to offer no evidence about voter fraud, instead promising more lawsuits, as he (at this writing) refuses to do what every former president before him has — concede and offer the president-elect help in a transition.

In Maine, our Sen. Susan Collins confounded the polls, not only beating expectations, but winning by a comfortable margin. Maligned by the Sara Gideon campaign and money poured in from Democratic operatives all over the country, Collins ran on her experience and was able to convince Mainers that most charges levied were either not true, didn’t matter, or were offset by the accomplishments of her past tenure.

Her opponents put out that she followed Trump 94% of the time, while her campaign touted THE FACT she has been voted most bipartisan senator for seven consecutive years. In the end, the people spoke and Gideon, unlike Trump, was quick and apparently gracious in her concession call. Maine’s race ended the way it was supposed to; a winner crowned and the opponent stepping aside, licking wounds, readying for another day.

This was Joe Biden’s third attempt, and my favorite moment occurred at the end when wife Jill, his children and grandchildren all took the podium. Biden was gracious and grateful; what struck me was his pride and humility.

On the other side, Trump continues telling supporters and the world that Democrats stole the election, offering no proof, saying it over and over. Since Election Day, emails asking his supporters (like me, who he calls “Friend” and “Patriot” in his communications) for money to defend election integrity. On Nov. 6, a “FINAL NOTICE” arrived; he, Mike, Melania, Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka had reached out and I had not responded.

They were done with me. I felt relieved. It was over.

An hour to the minute later, another email arrived. And an hour after that, and an hour after that, and still 48 hours (and 48 emails later) they come. There is a 1,000% match, so every $100 given will be $1,100. Who is matching this? Not even the fine print answers that.

What it does say (in very small print) is funds are only partially going to the “legal defense fund.” More than half will be used to pay campaign debt; thought to be as much as $100 million more spent than the cash they had on hand.

If true, it ends like it started, with the master showman (or charlatan) asking supporters to not look behind the curtain and instead follow him down a path that seems hell-bent on bringing down our country, rather than moving on.

The election is over. May we move forward, may we find hope and trust science and experts in the new administration to concentrate on solutions, not rhetoric.

Can we replace the current swamp with mermaids in our waters and unicorns in our woodlands?

Perhaps that is asking too much; let’s start with saying hi to our neighbors again, no matter what sign they had in their yard.