"I used to think 'they're dirty, they're full of poor people, who cares?'" said Republican Congressman Richard Tremaine of Alabama, days after his son Nick announced that he had moved to Boston. "But now that my own son is living in a city, I just can't go on believing that they don't deserve the same rights and resources as more traditional places, like the suburbs."
Seven other House members and three Senators stood with Tremaine during his statement, offering support for what he called "a difficult soul-searching experience." He vowed to introduce a formal resolution in the House calling for the official recognition that "cities are places, too."
The shifts have trickled all the way up to the highest levels. Even President Barack Obama has had a personal change of heart on prioritizing urban issues.
"I had a long talk with my daughter Malia the other night and she told me how, even after we have to leave the White House, she wants to stay right here in the big city," the president said during a recent session with reporters at the White House Briefing Room. "As a parent, when you hear those words from your own kin, it really puts things in perspective."
President Obama ended the briefing by saying he had "a lot to think about," suggesting that "maybe it's time to revive that Office of Urban Affairs idea we came up with back in the early days."