Standing before the veterans' memorials along Duluth's Lakewalk on Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz called on Minnesotans to reflect on our nation's history in an attempt to pave a way forward following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
"The calls to try and figure out what's going on and where we go are really important," Walz said. "But I would say this, not so much as governor, but as a (former) history teacher, it's pretty hard to know where you're going if you don't know where you’ve been."
Walz stopped in Duluth on the final leg of a mini-tour of the state to call for reflection, peace and civility. Earlier this week he visited two other historical spaces: the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul and the Wasioja Historic District in southern Minnesota.
He pointed out how, when President Abraham Lincoln put out a call to states to defend the union in 1861, Minnesota was the first state to offer its people to fight.
“I'm here to understand that in those difficult times, we figured out a way to do it,” said Walz, who then went on to hear from a couple area veterans about the memorials behind him, including the USS Duluth anchor and the Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Duluth City Council President Renee Van Nett spoke briefly to say she's confident that this moment of deep division in the nation will pass.
"I come from a place where resiliency is the backbone of my family," Van Nett said. "I know for a fact that this will pass as well. And we will do that by recovering and working to recover in the best manner possible, supporting each other's families … all these different avenues of how we recover, taking care of each other."
In order to move forward as a nation and close the division, Walz said, Republicans must first tell their supporters that the election was fair, free and monitored. He added that he's not asking anyone to give up their deepest held beliefs, but to acknowledge that elections matter and no one's going to "get their way every time."
"What I hope happens out of this is a realignment how we view this. Politics is not a sport where you have to win. It is not the goal to defeat the other side," he said. "The goal is to find working compromises that get things done.
Regarding the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Walz said that while accountability needs to happen, there is no joy in seeing an American president impeached.
He added that he hopes the nation can reach a day where the political news cycle is boring, but before that can happen the nation must first agree on a set of facts and truths.
"It does not have to be this crisis situation where we're in a fight about everything. Let's just figure out how we do this fairly, how we come back to those principles of this country and recognize that there's a whole lot of people made a whole lot of sacrifices so that we could actually have this debate."