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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Post-Election Reconciliation

Group of protesters opposing the outcome of the 2020 election.

Group of protesters opposing the outcome of the 2020 election.

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

After a highly contentious (and ongoing) election, our country remains as polarized as ever. Ethics Center staff and scholars provide an analysis of the ethical challenges associated with healing these deep wounds. 


One Republic, with Liberty and Justice for All By Ann Skeet (@leaderethics), senior director of leadership ethics.

The work of the citizenry is not over and done with now that the 2020 election is behind us. True reconciliation requires that there’s more work to be done. 

Reconciliation … Between Whom and About What?  By Subbu Vincent (@subbuvincent), director of journalism & media ethics. 

Before reconciliation can be achieved in our country, we need to understand the actual problem, including who needs to be brought together and on what they’re divided

How to Restore Trust in the National Government  By John Pelissero (@1pel), senior scholar in government ethics and a professor emeritus of political science from Loyola University Chicago. 

Trust in the federal government has dropped over the last several years, but it can be repaired. Here’s how.

A Right or a Privilege? How to Practically and Ethically Reconcile Two Opposing Views of Health Care  By Charles Binkley (@CharlesBinkley), director of bioethics. 

The debate over whether health care is a right or a privilege comes down to how much burden society is willing to accept in order to provide health care to those who lack it. There may be a compromise.

Keys to Unlocking Reconciliation After the Election  By Thomas Plante, (@ThomasPlanteAugustin Cardinal Bea, SJ professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, faculty scholar with the Ethics Center and an adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Approaching difficult political conversations with accommodation, humility, and the assumption of goodness can help our country reconcile after a polarizing election.

Solidarity (not reconciliation) Offers a Path for Public Discourse in a Fractured Society  By Anita Varma (@anitawrites), assistant director of Journalism & Media Ethics and a visiting lecturer in journalism ethics at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism.

Rather than seeking reconciliation, or heeding calls to depoliticize politics, we should strive for solidarity in public discourse.

Love and the American People: St. Augustine on the Road Ahead  By David E. DeCosse (@DavidDeCosse), director of Religious & Catholic Ethics and Campus Ethics programs at the Ethics Center.

In the face of our nation’s current division, love and politics must find a way to co-exist.

Reconciliation and the Politics of Ressentiment  By William O'Neill, professor emeritus of social ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology and a faculty scholar with the Ethics Center.

The process of reconciliation must begin with recognition of each side and their unique perspectives.  


Related Resources

Election Ethics SpotlightEthics Center staff and scholars analyzed the associated ethical dilemmas leading up to the 2020 Election.

Nov 30, 2020

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