Democracy Forum Chicago: Protecting America’s Democracy in the Age of Political Extremism

The January 6 Committee (“J6”) hearings have highlighted to the world just how close the insurrectionists came to disrupting the peaceful transfer of presidential power in our country. Most importantly, the J6 Committee’s work has brought attention to the fact that there is a significant group of people in America (including many elected public officials) who favor authoritarianism over democracy and racism over the guarantees of equal protection for all under our Constitution.

On this 21st anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded that the gravest threat facing America today is not from an external enemy, but from within. J6 Committee Chair Bennie Thompson has stated that “January 6th and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk.” In addition, Illinois’ Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger was recently quoted in a PBS FRONTLINE interview as saying when you: “Look at a lot of failed democracies or struggling democracies . . . You see politics that’s about vindictiveness or about power or about violating the law. . . . We need truth; we need to get back to the basic commitment to democratic norms. That’s what’s at stake at this moment.” Indeed America’s survival as a democracy is itself at stake at this moment.

We gathered for an important conversation on the 21st anniversary of 9/11, as our expert panelists discussed their thoughts, ideas and recommendations on how all of us together can once again secure our country’s future as a functioning and vibrant democracy in this age of domestic political extremism.


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