As humans, we have a natural self-defense instinct. When we sense an attack, we naturally respond in defense. Now, any marriage counselor will tell you that this reaction needs to be tempered for a relationship to work. We need to stop “auto-responding” and instead begin viewing attacks as opportunities to examine ourselves, change, and improve.

From the moment Trump announced his candidacy for president, I opposed him. Vehemently.

Throughout the entire primary I loudly pointed out his liberal ideology, his character shortcomings, and his apparent disregard for the Constitution. During the general election, I did not turn around and sing his praises. Rather I focused efforts on Clinton, pointing out her flaws as a candidate.

Once Trump was elected however, I found myself less despondent than I anticipated. After the inauguration, I found myself cautiously optimistic. And just the other day, I found myself attempting to come to Trump’s defense.

My, how things change.

This nearly automatic defense response to criticism of Trump caught me off guard. I had to stop and take a step back, examining what I was feeling and why. Why had I felt the need to defend this man I had opposed so vehemently? And more importantly, was his action defensible?

The brilliant conservative writer, Ben Shapiro, likes to put it this way – at times you have “good Trump” and other times you have “bad Trump”. If we are going to act in a principled manner (guiding our actions by principles instead of feelings), then we have a duty to praise and defend “good Trump”, while at the same time analyze and criticize, even oppose, “bad Trump” as necessary.

When Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, we cannot automatically defend that decision. Instead, we should do our own homework. Look into this Gorsuch guy, find out what he believes, if he’s a good candidate, and then make a decision. If after this research, we find ourselves in agreement with Trump, we can praise and defend him knowing that our principles remain intact.

When Trump calls all negative polls “fake news” we cannot automatically defend that. Instead, we should do our own homework. Look into the polling method, find out for ourselves whether that statement is even true, and then make a decision. If after this research, we find ourselves disagreeing with Trump, then we have a duty to set the record straight.

If we’re not careful, an automatic defense of Trump and/or his policies, will destroy any and all credibility that we, as constitutional conservatives, have.

The key here is to realize that there are more than two sides and then to know what side you’re on. The media wants you to think it’s “Left vs. Right” and Trump is on the right. In reality, there’s Left, there’s Right, there’s Trump (who vacillates between the two at times), and then there’s Truth.

Being on the side of Truth means that you don’t ever have to defend a person. You defend Truth. When a person lines up with Truth, then you defend them. When that same person is opposing the Truth, then you know where you stand.

If America is going to survive, we must be people who defend the Truth, not the guy with the R (or D) next to his name.