What gives us hope?

Catching a small walleye on Rainy Lake and letting it go, hoping to catch it again some day?

Seeing the smiles of a child who saw Santa for the first time a couple weeks ago?

A thumbs up from an elderly man, as he leaves the hospital after surviving COVID-19?

Even in the wake of last week’s events in Washington D.C., we see hope in the reaction to it.

Last week did not mark the end of our democracy, but instead should serve as a reminder of its strength and value to this nation and others.

Gov. Tim Walz has called this for reflection, civility, and peace this week, even as reports that state Capitols may experience similar events. Drawing on his roots as a high school history teacher, Walz has encouraged Minnesotans to reflect on the greater context that led to this dark moment in history that resulted in violence.

Whether last week’s riots that ended with the occupancy of our nation’s Capitol was something symbolic that went awry or was a planned, armed attempt to overthrow the government, the right reaction is necessary and gives hope for the future.

Those who immediately condemned the action of those that encouraged, as well as those who physically took part in the crimes and violence must be held accountable and are, with arrests and prosecution.

The reaction by the top GOP leaders to the actions involved in last week’s violence also gives us hope for our democracy. Many understood that what happened outside and inside the U.S. Capitol was wrong, regardless of the race, political persuasion and gender of those who carried it out.

Did you see reaction of those attending and supporting what started as a rally — some pushing baby strollers with dogs on leashes — change as they watched people turn against their Capitol and those trying to protect it?

Last week ought serve as a reminder that while our democracy sometimes seems fragile, it continues to hold strong. Just as in the early days of our nation when the U.S. Capitol stood among ruin, it continues as a symbol of the principles and values that our nation was founded on: Equality for all people, who also have fundamental rights, such as liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, due process of law, and freedom of assembly.

We join with others who urge all Americans to think about their reaction to what they saw unfold Jan. 6. Did you cheer or did you cry as you watched police run from armed rioters who broke into the U.S. Capitol? Did your stomach turn or were you bolstered by the violence? What was at the base of your reaction?