[A]n education [. . .] that was designed to support a truly direct, deliberative democracy [. . .] would be an education oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision-making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation. (205)


In Fleming’s closing chapter of City of Rhetoric, he argues that schools need to do a better job of teaching students about politics. However, he does not want students to simply learn through presented facts, he wants students to practice using language, listening, understanding, and resolving effectively. These practiced skills would lead to the “strong publics of decision making” that Flemming finds necessary because effectively communicating and listening, will allow people to respond. A proper response correlates to decision making. In politics, there are often candidates who speak to crowds and say, “I believe this is the problem,” and “I think I can fix x by doing y.” While running, these politicians, who were trained through years of school, make these opinion-based promises, but when they get elected into office, the right decisions are not made to deliver what they promised and respond to the demands of the people. The same trend exists for the democracy of people who vote. The American people always form an opinion of both candidates, but when it is time to decide who to pick, they are often confused, and cannot deliberately choose and are upset about the results. This theory of education in relation to politics and decision making was evident in the most recent election which showed that people with higher education voted one way, while people with less education voted the other.

Decision making and opinion formation are different because opinion formation simply presents an individual’s perception of a certain topic. However, decision making actually gets things done and affects others. Concurrently decision making and opinion formation go hand and hand because people often make decisions based off of their opinion. In my papers from high school, I made a lot of my arguments based on opinions. For example, I exclaimed that Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest was female because some of the mother-like nurturing characteristics the nymph possessed. However, a different person may have thought that the nymph was male. I do not think that Fleming would disagree with my technique because although I formed an opinion, I still made a decision by calling the character a female. Fleming seems to want to see things get done through decisions. Likewise, he wants decisions in Cabrini Green to be made in order to adequately improve the lives of the people living in such a poor area.

Georgia Referendum to Amend State Constitution:

“Shall Property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?”


Root sentence: “Property owned by the University of Georgia and is free from taxation.”

Words that jump out: shall, affordable, exempt, taxation

The encoder, AKA the writer, seems to be a source outside of the university. I would infer that the referendum came from a government body and is now found in some type of information pamphlet belonging to the University of Georgia. The intended audience is the college students, for whoever releases the information can use it to attract students to apply to the university and feel better about where their money is going to. The use of the word “shall” stands out because the referendum now sounds more official; it sounds like a proclamation that has come from somebody of high standing. The encoder makes the sentence very complicated but also very specific in order to show how it applies to both the university and the students. Although the sentence is structurally complicated, it is fairly simple and easy to understand because the one “goal” of the sentence, “to continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable,” is written in simple syntax. Therefore, the sentence structure is complicated but the message is clear and easy to understand.

The sign explains to the potential bathroom user that the bathroom is gender inclusive, therefore, anybody of any gender can use this bathroom. A genetically male and female can share the bathroom at the same time. This sign is on the door to the bathroom in order to warn the user before they enter, rather than being surprised screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-10-53-20-amor confused that they are in the wrong bathroom. For example, on my first day at AU, I did not read the sign, so when I walked in and saw a urinal, I ran out because I thought I was in the men’s bathroom. When I looked back at the door for the men’s bathroom sign, I read this which clarified what was happening. This sign is authored by American University Housing and Dining in order to show the AU community that they support all genders and believe in inclusivity. It makes housing and dining look good, but it also communicates to the reader that the entire environment is inclusive and if anyone feels targeted or not included in any situation, then they know who to go to.

“The Queen is never late, everybody else is simply early.”- Queen Clarisse in Princess Diaries 2screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-3-10-15-pm

Root sentence: “the queen is never late”

The other words are there to support her main claim: “the queen is never late.”

In the root sentence, “the queen” is the main subject and “is” is the main verb.

Jobs of the other words:

  •  ” everybody else”: noun that differentiates everyone else from the queen
  • “is”: verb which pertains to the noun “everybody else”
  • “simply early” adjective that describes how “everybody else” arrives

My sentence: I did not take too much time, everybody else just did not take enough



Picture link:

“The Princess Diaries 2 Gifs”, Tumblr, https://www.tumblr.com/search/the%20princess%20diaries%202%20gifs




While republicans enforce extreme political involvement in a specific place, and liberals foster society and placelessness without strict regulations, David Fleming suggests in chapter two of City of Rhetoric, that the world needs “commonplaces, that can link us to one another and the earth but where we remain free and unique” (34). Commonplaces combine the positives of both liberalism and republicanism while eliminating their negative extremes. Fleming argues that we need “social spaces…that are open to hybridity, pluralism, and mobility but still allow us to make a livable world for ourselves, where we can disclose our differences to one another but also solve our shared problems” (34). In order to come to his conclusion, Fleming explains the problems with republicanism and liberalism in relationship to place, society, and individuality.

Fleming asserts that republicanism is problematic because it is “too demanding, too consuming, with insufficient protection” (25); republicans believe that politics are perhaps the most important part of everyday life. Republicanism requires face-to face interaction; Fleming observes that “development of the individual towards self fulfilment is possible only when the individual acts as a citizen , that is as a conscious and autonomous participant in an autonomous decision-taking political community, the polis or republic” (25). This means that republicans can only personally improve if they contribute to the republic and grow as a community by way of face to face interaction with other republicans. Fleming correlates this dependence on communication to the great involvement of place. He insists that he cannot imagine republicans without place, claiming that the party even depends on streets for their interactions (Fleming 27). Flemming encourages place, but he does not agree with the excessive dependence on geography as republicans do.

Concurrently, Fleming proclaims that the liberalism spread itself “too thin” (27) without any type of place or set of rules. This party is built upon involvement in society, family, church and other nonpolitical spheres. Fleming’s proposal to create common spaces, includes both liberalism and republicanism because the spaces provide a place where unique individuals can come together to discuss and solve their differences face to face. By creating a commonplace, citizens go to a specific area where they can snap in and out of their political thinking, different than the republican practice of politics all the time and the liberal practice of hardly ever discussing of politics.


Book which Fleming refers to: National Standards for Civic and Government

In Fleming’s definition of commonplaces, he demands a place where “we remain free and unique as individuals” (34). The aspect of being unique includes Fleming’s earlier argument against the National Standards for Civics and Government which proclaims that “the identity of an American citizen is defined by shared political values and principles rather than by ethnicity, race, religion, class, language, gender and national order” (20). He suggests that these standards take away the history, and “hide the struggle” (Fleming 20) that African Americans, women, and other suppressed groups faced to be able to politically participate. By adhering to the standards, one is drained of its people’s history and beliefs, while being forced to abide to the practices of their political party. This draining is especially apparent in republicanism where the regulations make for little room to be different or independent. Fleming argues, “to pretend that race, class and gender are irrelevant, or that one is “blind” to them is often just a way to favor those who allegedly have no race, class, age, sexual orientation, or gender–that is white, middle-aged, heterosexual men” (21). However, his proposition for commonplaces allows people to carry their cultural backgrounds and use them when discussing differences.

Fleming finds his argument relevant because today’s postmodern public which is founded on globalization, diaspora, and multipotentiality, does not satisfy the people because it lacks a “reliable ground on which to build ordinary political life” (31). Therefore, America needs a new form of politics which can be achieved through these social spaces where globalization can occur on a “reliable ground” along with aspects from other political parties. Overall, Fleming believes that the world needs a political party that celebrates individuality and interconnections in a specific place where comfortable face to face conversations can occur.

Work Cited

Fleming, David. “The Placeness of Political Theory.” City of Rhetoric. State University of New York Public Press, 2009, pp.19-35


“Center for Civic Education” Textbook and Beyond, 2016 http://www.textbooknbeyond.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=297



New York Times: “Man is Shot in Charlotte as Unrest Stretches to Second Night”:

“A second night of protests set off by the police killing of a black man spiraled into chaos and violence after nightfall here Wednesday when a demonstration was interrupted by gunfire that gravely wounded a man in the crowd. Law enforcement authorities fired tear gas in a desperate bid to restore order.”


This introduction sets a scene and communicates what happens, however, it does not follow Graff’s model for “They Say/I Say”. It lacks the “they say” because the intro does not have any quotes from someone at the protest in the introduction. Although the journalist does not directly state what he believes, he shares his opinions on the matter through the words “chaos” and “desperate”. As a reader, I know that the writer felt that the situation was hectic, and that he felt that the tear gas restored order. However, a person involved in the situation may not agree that the use of the tear gas was the last resort to “restore order”. In some ways, this opening paragraph is an example of what Graff said not to do. Do not simply state the writers argument. The lack of they say makes the writer seem biased: opposed to the situation and protective of the law enforcement.


“Nike has finally announced when it will begin selling its self-lacing sneakers inspired by the shoes worn by Michael J. Fox in Back to The Future II. According to a tweet from the company’s Heidi Burgett, the HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available for “experience & purchase” starting on the 28th of November, but only in select Nike locations in the US. Pricing is still unknown, but expect a “high price tag,” according to a wired feature on the shoe’s development.”


This introduction follows Graff’s form of they say/i say because it presents the information the writer knows along with information from a company member. This introduction is more helpful to me, as a reader, because “they” has a voice, and the writer has less of an opinion. Concurrently, I think that Graff would want a little more “I say” from the journalist.



  • “Our political philosophies should not deny these “irrational”  attachments; they are consecutive of who we are , of our very human being. –City of Rhetoric, pg.22
    • If you replaced one with another, the sentence would start off with “they” and the noun would be unclear. (Who is “they”?) If a period replaced the semicolon, the sentence wouldn’t flow as well because a period indicates a pause; the semicolon acts as the word “because” because it explains why the political philosophies should not be denied.


    • “Architectural regulation  is powerful in part because it  is unseen; it “allows government to shape our actions without  our  perceiving that our experience has been deliberately shaped.” –Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment, pg.1940


  • The semicolon relates the sentences better than if a period was there; the semicolon connects the sentences so that the two independent clauses are one thought. If the order of the independent clauses were switched so that they sentence starts with “it”, they subject would be unclear because the sentence would start off with a pronoun.



  1. IC
    • “To make an impact on a writer, you need to do more than make statements that are logical, well supported, and consistent. You must also find a way of entering a conversation with others’ views–with something “they say”. –They Say/I Say, p.4


  • It is better to use a period here rather than a semicolon because the period means breathe because it is the end of the sentence. A semicolon would create a mouthful, feeling like a run on sentence.



  • “This is not just armchair political philosophy. There is some evidence that modern communities of 5000-10,000 total population are uniquely effective at encouraging and supporting high levels of civic involvement. City of Rhetoric, pg 47
    • The period could easily be replaced by a semicolon, especially because the first sentence is so short. The semicolon would just help the sentences connect better.