The ultimate outcome of the 2020 presidential election may have less to do with who wins than how he wins.  Some, if not all, of the unique characteristics that define the country symbolized by the statue of “Liberty enlightening the world” are themselves on trial, and the nation and a watching world await the verdict.

Millions of people do not agree with the allegations that the election is over, that a clear winner emerged, and that the vote totals delivered a convincing mandate.  The legal procedures for declaring the winner of a presidential election in the United States of America are still in process.  Players and officials are still on the field.  The game still has time on the clock.

Meanwhile, some individuals and their families have received alarming death threats (is there any other kind?).  Disparaging words and intimidating behaviors abound.  Fanatical partisans are promising retaliation for opponents seeking justice, upholding the law, voting for a different candidate from the one they support, or working with another party’s governmental administration.  Lawmakers advocate lawlessness, mass information media promote disinformation, and virulent strains of totalitarianism threaten some of the freedoms and opportunities Americans have long enjoyed and that serve as a beacon to citizens of other nations.

The following eight key fundamentals outline the path to achieving justice in any society, including determining the just outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Fundamentals of Society

  1. Authority: A commonly agreed upon authority among group members sets the stage for any rational attempt to reach a just end.  The supreme law of America rests in the Constitution of the United States.  Claims based on any other authority — religion, opinion, mob actions or threats, military intervention, mass media, big tech, anarchy, or any other governing basis — will not reach the same conclusion.  The end will differ because the paths to justice diverge in the first step.  The reason so many people come to such widely differing opinions about what is just in any circumstance is because people base their original claims on differing authorities.
  1. Differentiation: The Constitution sets forth various essential distinctions, including governmental branches and territorial states, citizens and non-citizens, residents and non-residents, valid and invalid voting, and much more.  Again, departures from legally demarcated differentiations will lead to differing conclusions.
  1. Standards: State and federal election laws define specific rules and regulations that establish the framework for voting, certifications, processing challenges, and legally naming and installing the president of the United States.  Using different standards, or applying standards unequally, often leads to diverse conclusions that are sometimes diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive.
  1. Accountability: Designated lawmakers and law-keepers are supposed to help guide people and navigate the processes involved in achieving justice.  This is true in any society.  Without accountability, standards are not upheld, differentiations do not matter, and authority is not obeyed.  Corruption among this group often thwarts justice.

Normally, most societies attend to the above four fundamentals as part of their organizing constitution. Once these are set and agreed upon, revisiting them is not necessary.  However, when members of a family, business, community, or nation continually find themselves at odds, effective resolutions will often require determining and addressing discrepancies in these areas.

Fundamentals of Justice

  1. Balance: Scales in the balance often depict the concept of justice.  Imbalance among any elements of the societal framework will tilt end results toward imbalance and, therefore, injustice.  For instance, one set of rules and allowances for Democrats and another set for Republicans — in any area — voids this fundamental.  Rules should apply equally to everyone everywhere within each system in accordance with the societal framework.
  1. Due Process: One distinct feature that has helped make America a beacon of hope and opportunity is the institution of due process as the design method for achieving just results in any circumstance.  Rather than military coups or other forced results through whichever methods and persons or groups are strongest at any moment, Americans have detailed processes for many things, including elections.  Departure from legal due process commonly hinders justice.  Our elected and appointed leaders owe it to the nation — and the world, if we aim to keep touting our model of a democratic republic — to prove that our system of due process works.
  1. Integrity: Justice always requires transparency.  Claimed integrity must be backed up by unambiguous, unmistakable, honest facts open for all to see and judge.  Anything less thwarts justice.  Where purported facts are in question, leaders with integrity will demand fair and open inquiry no matter the result.  Both Biden and Trump should be willing to stake their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on a free, fair, and open election in which every single legal vote counts and zero illegal votes count.  Every American citizen who legally voted deserves to know that his local precinct received his vote and appropriately tallied it in accordance with his intent, and that his state’s totals accurately reflect the authentic vote of its citizenry.
  1. Recompense: Most people seeking justice jump straight to this concluding step without appropriately addressing the other fundamentals.  Yet the just and proper assignments of reward, retribution, or restitution (or a combination of these) require following the full path in any situation.  Without doing so, many reactions in the name of justice simply mask revenge while claiming virtue.  Vengeful actions will probably occur no matter who wins the 2020 presidential election, but America’s leaders could mitigate the scope of unjust responses if they lead the nation in following the appropriate path and come to the same, widely undisputed conclusion.

For the unscrupulous determined to win at all costs, appealing to honest adherence to the fundamentals of society and justice will probably fall on deaf ears.  But for those truly seeking justice in this or any future American election, a clear path exists that follows the Constitution, honors the rights and privileges of all Americans, and shines forth an encouraging light that reveals how a more perfect union seeks to establish justice and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Originally published on on 11/27/2020.