At our meeting tonight we had a great discussion on our voted choice of a topic. There was some analysis of the dictionary definition of the word respect but then we went on to discuss various applications of that concept. Inevitably in a current political context, the question came down to the massive amounts of disrespect emanating from Washington and what if anything we could do about it.

There was a discussion of the current kerfuffle over many of the National Football League players kneeling during the playing of the US National Anthem. Some major politicians thought it disrespectful not to stand obediently with one’s hand over their heart. There was some analysis of that kneeling being a First Amendment right to peaceful protest, and there was general agreement that “taking a knee” was showing perhaps the greatest form of respect possible. That action was what was done for centuries before the King when being knighted. In that example, it was placing one’s exposed throat next to the King’s open sword where even an inadvertent twitch of the hand would mean death.

When it came to my turn to speak I physically illustrated several positions of submission before our group. These were intended to illustrate physical attitudes when showing respect. After that bit of theatrics, I illustrated physically some common expressions of disrespect. These were all done as illustrations and even though they could have been taken as comedy they were accepted as serious commentary, as I intended.

The discussion was enthusiastic and usually abstract but as is my habit I kept bringing the conversation back to physical action. We need the clearer vision that our analysis of the situation brings to us, and we need to identify what the right action is to bring about a good result. That good result is one that is generally helpful to everyone. I said that the greatest form of respect is kindness and that means helping other people to achieve their goals. So, what do I think respect is?

Be kinder to other people than you are to yourself.