City of Rhetoric and the Evolution of Local Government

Reading Analysis 1

In his first chapter of Part 1, “Placelessness of Political Theory” in City of Rhetoric, David Fleming, argues that the concept of local government has evolved over time starting with Greek republicanism into a wider interconnected global community, but believes we need to have more unified places of interaction in order to solve the problem. David Fleming brings this relevant issue to topic by exploring past and present local governments to determine their effect on people and propose a way forward for community government.

Fleming begins by defining his concept of the citizen which has changed drastically throughout history. He characterizes human beings separate from citizens in that both are vastly different. As Fleming puts it, “In this country, in other words, we bracket our most fundamental worldly difference when we enter the political arena, our identity, there independent of, even transcending, our otherwise divisive particularities” (20). Fleming suggests that ignoring a voter’s personality and humanity is fundamentally at odds with a true democratic process, rather that it tends to follow the existing power structure. These power structures primarily benefit the the wealthy, white, dominant parties they’re associated with. Interestingly, the people who don’t “see race” are most definitely the ones benefiting from the present system. Therefore, Fleming suggests that humans should come together in a public place which he defines as a “commonplace” where both parties can build a relationship and co-function. This will be the basis to overcoming contentious topics within communities. Unfortunately, there is already so much damage in this “political arena” which Fleming describes has torn apart many communities making it hard to turn the current system around.

Subsequently, governments in turn should shift laws benefiting the small elite group of individuals at the top of the wealth pyramid. Instead, representatives should spend more time crafting a society which focusses on local issues for the population of people living in a certain geographical region. This will result in beneficial impacts for the majority of society because local issues will be solved and solutions to problems will be geared towards a specific area.

                                                              Works Cited

Burr, Thomas. “Chaffetz getting gripes from constituents-not Utah, but those in D.C.” The
Salt Lake Tribune. N.p., 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009. Print.

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