Topic: The definition of Patriotism
Michael Waldman: To me, patriotism is one of the most powerful and one of the most important emotions there is. It’s what has helped guide my life and why I work in the work I do, and why I worked in public service, and why I’ve tried to help the country live up to it’s ideals in the work I do now as a lawyer. Patriotism doesn’t mean being jingoistic. It doesn’t mean putting other people down. It means believing in your own country, which means believing in the people of your own country. And in the case of the United States, it means believing in the ideals of a country. It’s been said a lot that the United States is very unusual that we were founded not based on land, and not even based on religion, or ethnicity the way a lot of other countries were, but a basic set of ideals. And if you adhere to those ideals, if you believe in the Declaration of Independence, if you believe in the Constitution, then you’re an American. That is a very powerful idea. It’s the most basic and universal idea there is. And if you get excited about that, you’re patriotic, whether you wear a flag pin or not.