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The Minnesotan Scholar

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gwen Walz, & The Governor of Minnesota

Kyle Palmer
10 min readNov 1, 2018

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Depending on where you live, you might have heard of my high school English teacher, Gwen, and her husband, Tim. You might know one of them better as Tim Walz, the Democratic Nominee for Governor in Minnesota. At sixteen, I only knew him as Mr. Walz. Come Tuesday, November 6th, Minnesota will be voting for its next Governor, and I suggest you vote for Mr. Walz.

In doing so, I believe you will vote for a true Minnesotan Scholar.

My story is a bit dated as I don’t know much about Minnesota politics. I would ask, “What’s Up, Twin Cities!?” but I don’t even know if people listen to the radio anymore. For me? I keep up with things in Chicago, where I have lived for the past ten years. But I do miss Minnesota politics as I dig up history in Illinois in search of whatever future it might have.

For context, one former Illinois governor, Joseph F. Fifer, in court, defended the Illinois governor who served from 1921–1929, Len Small, who was famous for being tight with the Ku Klux Klan, from a corruption charge using the argument that the governorship had, “the divine right of kings.” The Federal Government, not surprisingly, disagreed. This still seems an active disagreement in Illinois, as four of our last seven governors have spent time in jail. But Minnesota? As I hear it from my parent’s dispatches, politics in Minnesota are still about Minnesota.

And maybe that’s why so few Minnesotans leave. It is a great place to raise a family, after all. I wouldn’t trade my experience growing up there for any other state we frequented growing up. And for me, it was the schools that made the difference. I am beyond indebted to the public education I received in Minnesota because Mrs. and Mr. Walz were my teachers, among many others, including my parents.

Gwen Walz was my sophomore English teacher. To this day, I still remember finding it odd how much time Mrs. Walz spent on Transcendentalism — popularized by Ralph Waldo Emerson, among a few famous others. We spent at least a month on the topic, if not more. One line of Emerson’s I have grown to cherish in revisiting him as an adult is, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and…

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Kyle Palmer

Midwesterner, Meet World