“Parks and Recreation” may have aired its final episode in February 2015, but Leslie Knope is still here to remind us that everything will be okay.
The beloved character has returned from television cancellation to offer Americans a message of hope following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday night, and encourage women they “are going to run this country, and this world, very soon.”
“Dear America, 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,” Knope begins her letter. “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. And started crying.”
“Like most people, I deal with tragedy by processing the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance,” Knope writes, before declaring that she still doesn’t “accept” Trump’s victory.
Knope, played by Amy Poehler during the series’ seven seasons, was a loyal public servant and feminist with nothing but respect for Hillary Clinton and those paving the way for women in politics.
“That’s why people respect Hillary Clinton so much,” Knope said in a season two episode. “No one takes a punch like her. She’s the strongest, smartest punching bag in the world.”
“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,” the essay reads. “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.”
Knope then addresses girls and young women.
“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,” she says. “Our President-Elect is everything you should abhor, and fear, in a male role model…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.”
“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,” Knope concludes. “Now find your team, and get to work.”
Watch Clinton’s powerful concession speech in the video below.
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