I found Brown's observations interesting, practical and hopeful in very ordinary ways. We've seen what he describes here in Dallas among the people with whom we work.
“We try to deal with (our problems) neighborhood by neighborhood. What I find as mayor, it’s not abstract, it’s block by block. It’s just people living their lives. They don’t live their lives in ideology. They live their lives by what they face every day. Very few people generalize, or stand back and look at the big picture. It’s getting rid of a drug dealer on the corner, or creating a group to watch out for the neighbors, or working to fix up a local school. All these things build community life. At the same time, the media, national entertainment, advertising, brand shopping – and work people have to do – occupies a lot of daily life, so people don’t have much energy left over to organize their neighborhoods or work on civic issues. But there are thousands of people in a place like Oakland who do just that: they find the time.” (p. 223).
"In some of these lower—income neighborhoods, it’s like a continuing disaster that pulls people together, while at the same time fostering a lot of antagonism and anger.” (p. 224).
“In a city like Oakland, where we have eighty different languages in our public schools, all different races, ethnicities, religions, and political ideologies, somehow we’re holding it together. That’s hopeful. Why can’t we do the same with the world at large?” (p. 224).