Parks & Rec’s Leslie Knope Pens Powerful Letter To America On Trump’s Presidency
There’s not a lot to look forward to right now. As a spray tanned pro-life, racist, sexist, global warming skeptic prepares to move into the White House. The news has shaken the world, and will go down as one of the biggest political upsets in US history.
Protests have been unleashed around America, as Hillary Clinton supporters struggle to fathom the idea that Donald Trump will be their next president. Now one devotee to the cause Parks & Recreation’s beloved character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) of Pawnee City Council has penned a letter to the nation.
Knope herself has long aspired to occupy the oval office, so watching the chance of having a female president be crushed has broken her heart. Knope shares her wisdom and empathy for all the women out there feeling deflated and goes on to say she won’t accept Trump as president, and neither should you.
You can read the letter in full here, but below are the highlights:
Amidst the confusion, and despair, and disbelief, it was suggested to me by a very close friend of mine (I won’t say her name to protect her identity) (Ann. It was Ann) that perhaps a few people would enjoy hearing my thoughts on this election. So I sat down at my computer, cleared my head, and opened a document.
Then I started crying. So I had some hot chocolate, and my close friend (Ann) rubbed my back for a while, and I got myself together, and sat down.
Like most people, I deal with tragedy by processing the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. My denial over the election results was intense. My anger was (in Ron’s words) “significant.” My bargaining was short, but creative — I offered my soul and the souls of all of my friends in exchange for 60,000 more votes in Milwaukee, to any demon who cared to accept. (Tom told me it was a terrible deal, but in that moment I didn’t care.) My depression I have already mentioned. Which brings us to acceptance. And here’s what I stand on that:
No. I do not accept it.
I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the president. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story.
I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate.
And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, superego!)
Our president-elect is everything you should abhor and fear in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon. So you will not listen to this man, or the 75-year-old, doughy-faced, gray-haired nightmare men like him, when they try to tell you where to stand or how to behave or what you can and cannot do with your own bodies, or what you should or should not think with your own minds. You will not be cowed or discouraged by his stream of retrogressive babble. You won’t have time to be cowed, because you will be too busy working and learning and communing with other girls and women like you. And when the time comes, you will effortlessly flick away his miserable, petty, misogynistic worldview like a fly on your picnic potato salad.
He is the present, sadly, but he is not the future. You are the future. Your strength is a million times his. Your power is a billion times his. We will acknowledge this result, but we will not accept it. We will overcome it, and we will defeat it.
Now find your team, and get to work.
– written by a member of the Parks and Recreation writing staff
(Leslie Knope works for the US Department of the Interior, Midwest Branch, in her hometown of Pawnee, Indiana. And she believes that optimism defeats pessimism. She asks that if you have the means, you kindly make a donation to the ACLU, the International Rescue Committee, or the charity of your choice, to help the country and those most in need.)