Post by Patriot Academy alumnus Hannah Watts
Often, in the political world, we are told that we must hold fast to our principles. However, there is not much discussion on what this really means. Being principled is not just knowing what you believe. This is simply not enough. When looking to be an individual who is fully convicted in the principles you rely upon, there are three things that must be remembered.
#1 Establish Your Principles
Of course, just establishing your principles is not enough, but it is a definite step in the right direction. When, though? When do you start establishing your principles? We cannot wait until the decision-making moment to establish our principles.
Before the time for decisions arise, we must have decided what we believe and decided how we will respond to a given situation. A person who waits until that moment to decide what is right or what is wrong will find himself greatly unprepared for the decision he has to make. . . and be much more likely to make an ill-advised decision!
#2 Remain Constant
When you become convicted of your principles, they must remain constant. Principles must not be changed based on your situation or circumstance. If they are changed, you are no better off than if you had never established your principles to begin with.
I have come to learn that conviction is rarely true conviction until it has withstood the temptation to compromise. Conviction in your principles becomes much stronger after you have been through the battle to change, to back down, to just “tweak” your principles to make things a little easier.
As patriots we must have the strength to stand by our principles when it would be so much easier to become weak and take the easier path.
#3 Opposition Strengthens Genuine Principles
Finally, conviction is of little use until you have opposition. That is when a real test of conviction and character come into play.
Again, if you are willing to compromise, change, or succumb in order to avoid opposition, your principles are useless to you. You must be willing to stand with those principles because they are right and must only follow them because they are right.
If you are principled because it is easy, or because people stand with you, your conviction is in vain. If you are committed to doing what is right, you must do it–regardless. To one who is genuinely committed to truth and principles at all cost, you must never expect the path to be easy or result in popularity.
But you can expect it to result in doing right.
All people must have a set of principles that guide them in their decision making. Before decisions must be made, principles must be set. Once principles are set, they must not be altered for each situation, but must be acted upon no matter the opposition. It’s the way we as patriots must strive to be if we are to be genuine patriots.
We must do what is right simply because it is right.