Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Democratic engagement isn't 'who screams the loudest'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke at an event promoting signing up for the U.S. Census Wednesday and made some strong comments about engagement and democracy.

"A true democracy must also be by definition, a full democracy, and that denying those rights to any part of our society not only denies the fullness of democracy, but rejects our shared humanity and makes us the lesser for it," Lightfoot said. "But democracy's argument to me and something from us as well," Lightfoot said. "And that, my friends is engagement, engagement with our public institutions, engagement with our elected officials, with the public dialogue, with the facts, with reality and above all else, engagement with each other."

Lightfoot went on to say that "democracy is under siege from multiple directions," including from President Donald Trump.

"Our democracy is under siege because we are losing the respectful engagement democracy demands in alarming ways," she said. "This includes losing confidence in our small d democratic institutions. Too many people feel their government isn't engaged with them. That government doesn't work for them, and doesn't respond to their daily struggles."

Lightfoot also called for people to find ways to compromise and to "build bridges to allow people we disagree with to cross over to us and us to them. It's those bridges that we need to build on."

"Democracy requires us to engage in the public square, where we can debate and find the facts and arguments to persuade," Lightfoot said. "It requires us to build coalitions and find common ground. What democratic engagement doesn't mean is who screams the loudest. It doesn't mean issuing a set of demands, and then villainizing anyone who doesn't immediately pledge allegiance to your particular manifesto.

"If democracy fundamentally represents our shared acknowledgement of our shared humanity, then our democracy will utterly fail, if we cease to see that humanity in each other."

Lightfoot made the comments at the DuSable Museum of African American History.
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