Arts, News

In New Podcast, Former Gov. Deval Patrick Explores What It Means To Be American

On “City Lights,” former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick discussed his new podcast series, where he talks  with activists, artists, politicians and everyday heroes on what it means to be American in 2020.
On “City Lights,” former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick discussed his new podcast series, where he talks with activists, artists, politicians and everyday heroes on what it means to be American in 2020.
Credit Charles Krupa / Associated PRess

Among the myriad podcasts available now, there is a new one called “Being American.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has launched the podcast series on what it means to be American in 2020. He speaks with activists, artists, politicians and everyday heroes.

Artists such as ballerina Misty Copeland and musicians Herbie Hancock and James Taylor appear as guests on the show.

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Patrick about creating the podcast.

Interview Highlights

Why he created the podcast: 

“It seems to me in these divided and divisive times, there are conversations about common values that are enormously difficult to have in a campaign and harder to have in politics. There’s so much uncommon wisdom I’ve found not only from the famous, but from the ‘yet discovered.'”

He continued, “How rich is our experience when we stop talking and just listen? Listen in the conversations we’re having with each other, but also just listening to others interact.”

"How rich is our experience when we stop talking and just listen? Deval Patrick said when asked why he created his new podcast “Being American.”
“How rich is our experience when we stop talking and just listen?” Deval Patrick said when asked why he created his new podcast “Being American.” (MuddHouse Media)

What struck him about Misty Copeland’s rise to success: 

“Her bravery. It’s obvious to anyone that is interested in dance that her skill is extraordinary. Her grace combined with her athleticism. She is a show-stopping talent, and there’s so much joy that exudes when watching her perform.”

Patrick continued, “It’s not until you really appreciate not how much goes into becoming a principal, but how staked the odds are against you if you are Black, particularly in classical ballet.”

Copeland was the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre in 2015.

What he thinks it means to be American:

“I think being American is about aspiration. I think it’s about being able to imagine a different place for yourself and for your family and then reach for it. We have to ask each other what does our patriotism demand of us, our citizenship demand of us, in order to ensure that is the reality for everyone everywhere.”

His thoughts on the future of Americans:

“The fact that we are divided is less troubling to me in some ways than the fact that it’s so easy to divide us. And I think that the reason that it’s easy to divide us is that we don’t know each other.”

Patrick continues, “I think there is a lot to do, but it is not true that we have been standing still since our founding. I think that’s one of our biggest challenges in this country is to acknowledge imbalance. We have to look at the extraordinary progress we have made, much of it in my lifetime, and at the same time how much progress remains before us.”

The podcast is available to stream on all major platforms.