Carla Sofia Fuente
September 22, 2016
Analyzing Fleming’s political point of view
In his “City of Rhetoric”, Fleming’s main argument expresses that there is a big diversity of people in the United States, and many of them have different customs, beliefs, and ideals amongst each other, but, despite their differences, they all share a common environment where they can integrate, and be a whole community together in agreement. Although people need space for themselves, and time to spend alone, they also need a common space, where they can interact with one another and share their common interests. This common space will allow them to forget their individual problems and try to figure out their common predicaments, and realize that individuals work better as a group. Also, the common space will allow people to feel useful, and at the same time feel “free and unique as individuals” (Fleming 34). The topics and problems citizens discuss as a common interest can be referred as politics, and this is how Fleming intertwines an individual with politics. He argues how the government declares to be a specific political party, but does not act in accordance with the party’s theory (Fleming 19). They do not follow exactly what the party believes in, or what they are expected to accomplish.
Fleming articulates that every opinion of a person is heard and valued in a democratic government. A man and woman both detail their rights as a particular citizen and at the same time, as a group. Although their opinions are different, they are weighed the same because they are equal citizens. Democracy is more “being” than “saying”; it allows people to use space as “the medium with which [individuals] positively organize [their] social lives, the material which [they] give form to [their] communities (Fleming 24). In its core, democracy is a medium that governs for the same, common purpose, yet everybody maintains their own beliefs. On the other hand, Republicanism, Liberalism, and Postmodernism do not work according to Fleming.
Republicanism is a political theory that has failed because they strive to be a “self-governing, and self-sufficient human communities, founded and maintained by selfless citizens zealously guarding their own and their fellows’ freedom through physical combat and public displays of verbal eloquence, practical wisdom, and communal spirit” (Fleming 25). Republicans tend to only worry about themselves like a typical selfish person. In a community full of republicans, there is no “community-building”. As well as Liberalism, which focuses on everyone’s own good. Everyone’s own right is above anything. People are too busy worrying about themselves, and others are worthless to one another. The only feature they have in common is that they all make sure that their own right is secure. Additionally, post-modernism led society to a change in the world and has all been about instability and decentralization (Fleming 30). Postmodernism has been unsuccessful to set a ground and does not provide a place where people can settle properly. Republicanism, Liberalism, and Postmodernism have failed to offer stability in a pleasurable environment.
In conclusion, Fleming’s argument states that people need a shared space for interaction and to forget personal interests, so that citizens can collaborate for a common goal, but also a private place to have the time to think and elaborate their personal plans. Democratic problems are solved by a consensus of everybody’s opinion and not in a private manner.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. SUNY P, 2008.