30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 19: Parks and Recreation’s Relevance

Well, I certainly picked a fun topic for today, considering the giant landfill fire that is the current status of our country, but dammit, Parks and Rec is needed right now. It’s definitely a fantastical escape: people working together to make positive change in their town, despite the town’s lack of enthusiasm and occasional outright hatred of such change. If you look at the tone of the show, even way back in the first season, the writers were inspired by the idea of hope that Barrack Obama preached during his two terms as the President of the United States. Agree with him on his politics or not, you cannot deny that he did inspire this in a lot of people.

The current political climate in the US right now is … let’s just say fucking bullshit. I wrote this exact line over two years ago when I last did this challenge, and it has only gotten worse. And our need for a Leslie Knope approach is even more necessary. She would look at what’s going on and use it as rocket fuel for her spaceship of positivity, gathering her team up to organize rallies and fight bad legislation. She would have spearheaded the rogue National Parks Service Twitter account. She would go high.

I still truly feel that Parks and Rec is even more relevant now than it was when it ran. A lot of the stories that just seemed too silly to actually happen now seem more plausible (see: Councilman Dexhart’s consequenceless sex scandals, Bobby Newport leading against a much more qualified Leslie, people voting for something scientifically inaccurate because it was more entertaining, etc.), and while we may laugh through our tears of realization that this is our reality at the moment, at least I can believe that there are people like Leslie that continue to fight tirelessly, inspiring people to keep swimming up that stream. Yes, it may be saccharine and unrealistic at times, but that’s part of its escapist appeal: I want to watch people like that to remind me that there are actually human beings in this world who give a shit and have the means to do something about it.

I think that’s the kicker. We need inspiration. We need more people in the limelight to use their platforms for good, like Colin Kaepernick, Bree Newsome, Bill Gates, Dolly Parton, and George Lucas, just to name a few. Too often are we bombarded by so much negativity and pure boorishness that it’s easy to just sit at home, watching Netflix, and pretending that things are not just going to shit. Which, I mean, is kind of what I’m doing when I put on Parks and Rec, but that’s neither here nor there, because it is actually spurring me into action. I’m working on my art, writing, and getting involved in local politics in Nashville, TN. And we all should do that: put good out in the world to combat the bad. We should all try to be Leslie, y’all.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Odyssey

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