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David Schwitzgebel

Lit/per 0
7 September 2016
Respect Narrative
Respect is not merely a matter of polite nothings. Respect is a fundamental appreciation
for the value of humanity. Anne Frank, who epitomizes the power of respect, wrote “dead people
receive more flowers than the living because regret is stronger than gratitude,” which perfectly
encompasses our society’s failure to embrace respect: we must understand, care for, and be
thankful for one another on both an emotional and intellectual level. Frank not only
demonstrated respect with her writing, but also with her outlook and actions: despite her painful
position in life - perpetually hiding from the Nazis (who failed to respect humanity), until her
death - she maintained utmost respect for the family and friends with whom she was forced to
hide away. Although few can claim to have a level of respect for their fellow humans comparable
to Anne Frank, we all should strive towards this ideal - even when confronted with mistrust,
callousness, and hatred (i.e., my parents failing to support my aspirations, my sister insulting me)
- I still aspire to treat them with respect. I accept their anger with grace, and respond with
kindness - showing them respect by acknowledging that they are, despite inevitable conflict,
incredibly important to me.
Without respect for one another, we surrender a critical aspect of our humanity:
compassion. Respect is what drives me to appreciate others’ efforts and suffering; it drove Anne
Frank, and countless other historical figures, to impact the minds and perspectives of generations
to come; and it drives us, as a society, to progress beyond the primal violence and egotism that

defined our ancestors. With respect, we will cooperate, create peace, and move forward. Now
that is respect.