In David Fleming’s book City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses the purpose for his writing, and illustrates how we have neglected the key issues in this country such as homelessness and poverty. Fleming states how we have forgotten these issues. This is not the first time Fleming has said this. In some of my previous work, I have outlined a previous time when Fleming described our problem (as a society) as mere distraction on other issues.
In Fleming’s book, in his section titled Afterwood, he states in further detail why he decided to write City of Rhetoric. “my point in this book has not been that we should not think globally, that we should not be always intensely aware of the rest of the world and our place in it, both as individuals and as communities” (Fleming). This quote is powerful, because after one reads the book, we can trace back to the examples Fleming has given us in support of his claim. Fleming believes we must look more closely at how our cities are designed and landscaped. We have a responsibility to one another that all of us will have the same opportunities. Issues like the ones Fleming has illustrated to us should never be why people can not prosper and have impacts in their respective communities.
That being said, it will not be an easy task. There are many variables involved when trying to accomplish change such as this. For example, the cost of our international duties has made fixing these problems even more difficult than ever before. As Fleming states, “more and more of an increasingly tight budget must now now be devoted to military spending, foreign aid, and the national defense” (Fleming.) As we can see, everyone including our government must be on board in order to create real change to the issues Fleming describes throughout his work. The simplest way to start is to create awareness and concern throughout the general public. This is why Fleming wrote City of Rhetoric, to start to create that type of change.
Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.