If there’s one person who believed Hillary Clinton could be the first female President of the United States, it was Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. Sadly things didn’t work out that way and many Americans are still dealing with the election results. But fear not, Knope is here to help Americans deal in a letter written to U.S. citizens about Donald Trump’s victory.
Knope started things out by encouraging readers to donate to the ACLU, the International Rescue Committee, or a charity that means something to the reader, then reveals how she first discovered the imperfections of democracy — in a fourth grade social studies class.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Kolphner taught us a social studies lesson. The 17 students in our class were introduced to two fictional candidates: a smart if slightly bookish-looking cartoon tortoise named Greenie, and a cool-looking jaguar named Speedy. Rick Dissellio read a speech from Speedy, in which he promised that, if elected, he would end school early, have extra recess, and provide endless lunches of chocolate pizzandy (a local Pawnee delicacy at the time: deep fried pizza where the crust was candy bars). Then I read a speech from Greenie, who promised to go slow and steady, think about the problems of our school, and try her best to solve them in a way that would benefit the most people. Then Mrs. Kolphner had us vote on who should be class president.
Before voting, Greg Laresque reportedly asked if he could nominate a third candidate, “a T. rex named Dr. Farts who wears sunglasses and plays the saxophone, and his plan is to fart as much as possible and eat all the teachers.” Naturally, Dr. Farts was quickly elected president of Pawnee Elementary School.
“After class, I was inconsolable,” she writes, adding that her teacher comforted her and her disappointment. But the lesson here is not that a farting T. rex will always conquer are, according to the death it’s that “People are unpredictable, and democracy is insane.”
While she defends democracy, she also speaks to those upset over the election results, because 1. She gets it, and 2. She’s part of that group of people.
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.
In short: you’re going to have to keep fighting for what is right.
“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 go find your team, and get to work,” she wrote.
Leslie Knope, you really know how to pick a devastated girl’s spirits up. Wipe away those tears, put on some eyeliner, slap on your game face and let’s do this.