We often hear the question posed when a debate ensues concerning a particular issue “whose side are you on?” Quickly, we look at the party who agrees with our viewpoint and then we say “I am on the side of this party.” Leadership should not choose sides but always choose principle. When we choose sides, we are giving a subtle endorsement to everything that party or side stands for. Unfortunately, we may later find out that we endorse principles which that side agrees with that is in violation of our own beliefs.
A practical example.
There has been introduced a bill that would allocate funding for oil exploration in a certain area of the country. Party A is opposed to it due to the environmental hazards that are indicated by preliminary studies. Party B is for the exploration due to economic growth that would be possible if oil is discovered and can be extracted safely. My view as a leader is shared by Party B in this situation but my mistake would be to say “I am on the side of Party B.” Why? This same party is a staunch supporter of an issue that is opposed to my moral convictions. If I publicly announce my support of the party instead of the principle, then I have endorsed all of their views and I become associated with them in all aspects of public and social policies.
The best way to handle every question is to exclusively deal with the policy or subject directly and not allow others to draw us into picking sides. Instead, choose principle and remain dedicated to your vision, and don’t become distracted by the volleys being shot across the bow to get an unnecessary allegiance. When we choose principle, then people will associate us with those principles on issues and not mere party affiliation.