I tried time and again to analogize this current election debacle with a game 7 championship sporting event, but the scoring parallels just kept breaking down. In what game can a team run up an invisible reservoir of points, only to unleash all of them at once onto the official scoreboard… after the clock has expired? What sort of contest do you expect to have when the referees are clearly “swallowing the whistle” repeatedly, and almost entirely for one side? How legitimate can you believe a team to be, when they flagrantly break the rules stipulating who is eligible to step onto the field?
Team sports are a mutually accepted engagement in conflict; even under the clearest and most equitable set of rules, they become violent and difficult to manage. Without rules, they would quickly descend into absolute bloody chaos. No sane person desires such a destructive outcome in a sporting event, and certainly not in the political realm. The arena of government is not a game; it is the cold hard reality of the system that dictates how our lives will be experienced. Thus, the rule of law is a foundational bedrock of a livable and sustainable society. However, rules are utterly useless if they are not followed, and the key to achieving broad acceptance of such rules without excessive brutality is equality and transparency in the formation of the law, and in its enforcement. If the rules are not applied equally and consistently, and if there is insufficient transparency to demonstrate otherwise, then people will reject them—because people are not stupid.
We instinctively know the inherent “wrongness” of unfair, inequitable treatment; as such, we rightfully recoil at actual displays of racist hatred, and we are naturally upset if a cheater is declared victorious. Obviously, in both sports and politics, we all generally have a strong bias for our chosen team or favorite player, so we all mutually understand the need for a clearly established set of rules, and an impartial mediator to manage the contest and the inevitable disputes that so quickly spike our temperatures. Without these, the game will surely break down, and our governmental system will swiftly devolve into brutal totalitarian struggles of the strong naturally sequestering power from the weak. If you need further illustration, please revisit world history… almost any part of it will do.
The truth of this moment, only a handful of days after the election, is that the final buzzer has not sounded, fouls have been alleged, evidence has been collected and will soon be provided and examined, and the supervisory referees will be required to do exactly what all of us are required to do, in a civil society: follow the rules. The beauty, and perhaps the irony, of the USA, is that our nation has survived and even thrived for much of our 250 years of existence precisely because it is so firmly grounded in the rule of law, with the willing acceptance of a free people. Our Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution are a uniquely effective system which allows us to improve and progress over time, and thus we have achieved historic levels of human equality, prosperity, and generosity. The irony would be found in this recent eruption of resistance to following, and appropriately enforcing, our laws in regards to the election process and ensuing results. As severe as the consequences of those results are bound to be, they utterly pale in comparison to the danger of compromising the integrity of the rule of law; for that is the barrier that stands between us and tyranny.
Regardless of which candidate you prefer to win the election, accepting a candidate who did not legally win according to the established rules of the contest is incredibly foolish. By dismissing the rules simply because it achieves your desired outcome in this contest, you invalidate the rules altogether, and you ensure the final score is destructive defeat, for everyone. “Laws are the wise restraints that keep men free,” and wisdom is paramount in resolving this crisis, lest we lose our freedoms entirely.
An internationally published model, actor, and writer, John Strand was born in California, grew up in a vibrant Italian-American family, and is based in both Los Angeles and New York City.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.