Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Love Your Neighbor

Written by: on October 9, 2023

Sitting through the election coverage in 2016 was difficult for me. My daughter was fourteen at the time and she watched the coverage with a friend of hers. It was heartbreaking to see these two young women follow the election coverage. As we watched the news, they moved from hope at the prospect of a woman becoming President for the first time to despair that a man known for making misogynistic comments towards women and mocking those with disabilities won the election. For these young women, it was not about the political stance of either candidate. It was about a perceived step backward for women in this country.

In that moment, my daughter lost faith in America and in democracy. When I was her age, I did not have much interest in politics. I had no interest in watching election coverage. I was only aware of the Presidential candidates because we studied them in my American History class. What I remember most was being able to have political discussions without the extremism we see today. We put on mock debates in school. You could argue your point and be heard in a respectful manner. People did not agree, but we could at least listen to one another.

In his book, Identity, Francis Fukuyama discusses political discourse. He writes,

“Modern liberal democracies promise and largely deliver a minimal degree of equal respect, embodied in individual rights, the rule of law, and the franchise. What this does not guarantee is that people in a democracy will be equally respected in practice, particularly members of groups with a history of marginalization.”[1]

Fukuyama further discusses these marginalized groups:

“Yet the story is more complicated than that. Contemporary identity politics is driven by the quest for equal recognition by groups that have been marginalized by their societies. But that desire for equal recognition can easily slide over into a demand for recognition of the group’s superiority. This is a large part of the story of nationalism and national identity, as well as certain forms of extremist religious politics today.”[2]

The marginalization of certain groups and the fight for equality has led to some of the extremism we see in American politics. I know many liberals who are staunchly against anyone who voted for Donald Trump. They perceive these conservatives as a threat to democracy. They want nothing to do with anyone who is against abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, or many of the core values of conservative Christians.  What they miss in this stance is that they are showing the same intolerance which they accuse others of having.

Fukuyama addresses this when discussing the tension between isothymia and megalothymia.

“The view that self-esteem is based on an individual’s ability to follow certain substantive social rules – to possess virtues – is a much more traditional understanding of human dignity. But since not everyone is virtuous, this understanding of esteem stands at odds with the report’s desire to affirm everyone’s intrinsic worth.”[3]

This dichotomy between intrinsic worth and virtuosity highlights the divide. How does this divide impact current politics? At what point does the cause of the marginalized go too far? When does the pendulum find balance in the middle? There needs to be a swing to the side of the marginalized before a balance is achieved, but is that possible? Both sides often react out of fear. This exacerbates the problem. What happens when the majority or the non-marginalized revolts against the fight for equality?

I do not have any answers to ongoing tension in politics. There are no easy answers. Both sides need to let go of the extremism and come to a place where they are willing to enter conversation with one another. I do not know what the next election or the future will hold for my country, but I will continue to look beyond politics and remind myself that we are all children of God. I will continue to love my neighbor.

[1] Francis Fukuyama, Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. (New York: Picador, 2018), xiii.

[2] Fukuyama, 22.

[3] Fukuyama, 95.

About the Author


Becca Hald

Becca is an ordained Foursquare minister, serving as the Online Community Pastor at Shepherd's House Church. She has over twenty-five years of leadership experience both inside and outside the church. Becca has served her community in many capacities ranging from Administrative Assistant and Children’s Ministry Director to Secretary and President of multiple school organizations. She and her husband, Andrew have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, Drew and Evelyn. Her great passion is to equip others, to raise awareness about mental health, and to help reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. In her free time, she loves going to Disneyland, reading, sewing, and making cards.

4 responses to “Love Your Neighbor”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    Great post, Becca. I especially like your comment, “There are no easy answers. Both sides need to let go of the extremism and come to a place where they are willing to enter a conversation with one another.” This would be a beautiful place if we could just get there. I also remember the 2016 election “War” and it was embarrassing for our country. It was all about discrediting the other person. Nothing positive about what they were going to do. The ads were the same way. I think Trump attracted people because he wasn’t the typical politician, however, his narcissism turns people off too. We need a leader who will cut through all the garbage and unite our nation and people. Tear down the walls of extreme identities and take advantage of the great people and resources we have here. It’s like they would rather win their argument and destroy our country instead of compromising and dominating in so many ways.

    I love that regardless of backgrounds in this group, we are all united and find our identity in Christ. Thanks for the post.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Michael. I agree with you, I love that no matter our backgrounds in this group, we are all able to love one another and find our unity in Christ. Yes, we need a leader willing to cut through the political extremism. My daughter would advocate for a benevolent dictator, but I do not think that person exists. I continue to pray for our country and our world.

  2. Becca,
    Thank you for your post, you handled this topic with care and honor. One of the things I admired about President Obama is he simply carried himself presidentially. Thank you for sharing how this impacted your daughter and women in this country. I am thankful for our cohort to bring to light areas we don’t always think about. Sometimes leaders hurt people the most when they are focused on winning at all cost.

    Well done!

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Greg. I love that we are all able to learn from one another. I agree, people get hurt when leaders have a “winning at all cost” mentality. This is something we see on both sides of the political aisle. I continue to pray for our world and look forward to the day when Jesus returns.

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