Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Benjamin R. Barber

Benjamin R. Barber is the author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. From the transcript of his December 2016 interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: Ben, what I'm struck by is that, you know, the difference in perspective. [Los Angeles mayor] Eric Garcetti clearly, you know, feels that immigrants, for example, are a vibrant part of the DNA of the city. And yet, there is this reaction. I was looking at the numbers. You know, you look at all these charts; it does look like a sea of red that Donald Trump won, versus these little slivers of blue. And then you realize cities make up 3.5 percent of America's land space, but they house something like 55 percent of the population?

BARBER: And produce 80 percent of the wealth and 95 percent of the universities and 98 percent of the culture and 99 percent of the patents. That's true right across the world. That's not just true in the United States. Cities are the life blood; they are the fuel and the engine of the economy. They are what make this country run. Farmers are great. Suburbs are fine. We've got to all work together -- no question about that. But the division here is not Eric Garcetti making war on the suburbs or the countryside but voters out there feeling resentment at cities because there are peoples of color, because there are minorities, because there are immigrants and because there are Muslims.

I very much appreciate the mayor's pragmatism. And he's right to say the first job of a mayor is to work with the new president, whatever party. The new president has said we will not tolerate sanctuary cities, cities that say we will not deport immigrants who are workers here and are living lawfully, in terms of keeping the law and sending their kids to school and holding jobs and so on.

If that happens, mayors are going to have to be ready to say not just "We're going to work with you, Mr. President, but we are not going to let you do certain things."

Mayor de Blasio said just two weeks ago in a remarkable speech at Cooper Union, where Lincoln spoke a long time ago -- he said...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue