In David Fleming’s last section of City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses how we, the reader, can help the development of our cities as well as how residents interact and socialize with one another. Fleming discusses how in recent years the efforts to create more affordable housing in urban areas and suburbs has decreased. He lists many reasons, but it all stems from our fears of our diversity. “We continue, that is, to be afraid of our diversity” (Fleming 213). This fear is due to the more fortunate in a community not wanting to “mix” with others who are less fortunate.
Another reason Fleming believes these problems have been left for dead was due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place in 2001. “Since after September 11, 2001, problems like urban poverty, suburban sprawl, residential racial segregation, and geographically based income inequality have been pushed almost completely off of the national radar screen” (211). From this quote we can see that Fleming is not connecting the physical act of terrorism to his argument, but he states that due to what happened, many of us forgot about this problem and had pushed it aside for what we all believed to be more a more important issue at the time. On top of that, politicians did not want to spend money on discrimination within societies when problems like the 9/11 attacks were so prevalent. That would not look good on them in the eyes of the public, and when dealing with politicians, they just do whatever they need to in order to get re-elected.
Fleming left us with encouraging words. Even though he believes these issues currently need action they are not receiving, he has hope for the future. “be always mindful of the power of intervention, creation, and change in human life, the opportunity always before us for a better tomorrow” (214). What he is saying is that he believes the generation coming into the workforce now can change these issues. He tells us to never underestimate what we can accomplish as people.
Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.