The Ignorance of Individuality

The  second section “The Placelessness of Political Theory” within City of Rhetoric, author David Fleming makes the argument that United States citizens are losing their individuality and as a result their political freedom.  The author opens the discussion by stating the fact that the United States is a democratic institution and the foundation for the success of these institution are the individual citizen. Each citizen is afforded a level of autonomy regardless of factors such as race, language, gender, ancestry or other factors that aid in the categorization of a society’s members.

However, when Fleming continues to describe the process for citizenship in the United States he reveals a vital flaw in the definition of American citizenship. “In this country, in other words, we bracket our most fundamental worldly differences when we enter the political arena” (Fleming 20,) As a result, the diversity that allows for the United States to function as a unitary multinational state is simply lost. If this ideology stands as the framework for citizenship, that would argue that each individual would be aligned in the United States on common political principles free from the effects of personal experience. As Fleming claims, it is simply too great a task to separate the individual from the life they have lived. The section culminates with looking through the role of the individual in a republican, liberal and postmodern society and how this realization plays into each.

As a citizen of the United States it is incredibly clear to see where the dynamic described by Fleming fits into the world around us. As not only a member of the US population but of the Washington DC community as well, it is not difficult to see that variation in life experience takes place simply because of the volume of people and the fluidity that the freedom of our society provides to allow for a spectrum of experiences. This contrast should not be ignored in an effort to amalgamate every creed and socioeconomic class, but rather celebrated and learned from to help structure a political system that can intimately serve the will of its citizens.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. “The Placelessness of Political Theory.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public

Sphere in Metropolitan America, SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 2009, pp. 19–36,

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