I recently watched season 5 episode 22 of “Parks and Recreation” (a show on NBC, or Netflix) where — and I am not joking here — one of the main characters, the ever civic-minded Leslie Knope, is faced with her town (Pawnee) forming a committee to recall her from her public office because she refused to allow a chain restaurant (well-known to cause a large number of local health issues) to build in prime greenspace (which she later turned into a public park).
The episode was funny, mostly because the ever-do-good Leslie is persistent in representing what she feels is her public’s best interest, no matter how silly. It’s also very sad, because Leslie, a wonderfully good person, is faced by an outraged and mean-spirited public that doesn’t realize all the good things she does for them (everything from taking care of a slug problem, to cleaning up a trash-filled river, to creating policies that will build a great future for Pawnee, all while upholding her own personal values at every turn).
In the episode, instead of getting positive feedback that she expected from a public meeting, Leslie has to ask her own self whether she believes that Pawnee is better off with her improvements, and continues to help the town even though her efforts are not appreciated. Everyone watching the show can clearly see how she has helped Pawnee, even if her townspeople are more negative and judgmental than ever.
At the end of the day, whether Pawnee or the Kenai Peninsula, people have a right to know where their lawmakers stand on issues, even if those stances are entirely different from our own. Homer’s own recall issues are unconstitutional, and extremely unnecessary. Our democracy only works when everyone’s, even politicians’ free speech rights are protected. I support Leslie Knope, as well as Donna Aderhold, Catriona Reynolds and Dave Lewis, and trust that they will continue to support our town (and Pawnee!) to the best of their abilities in whatever capacity.
Leslie Knope asked residents of Pawnee: “Are we better off than we were a year ago?” If you don’t think so, and want different voices to be heard here in Homer, vote in the next election! Become an active part of the solution, and help us all build a wonderful future for our amazing town.
Be Leslie Knope!