OPINION: Things I learned from Leslie Knope

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer abbey column Knope, I was not emotionally prepared for the series finale, and yep, I was parks and wrecked by it. If it isn’t blatantly apparent by my preceding line of terrible puns, I am still reeling from the ending of the beloved comedy “Parks and Recreation”. There are a variety of reasons that I hold this show so near and dear to my heart–anything from Andy Dwyre’s ridiculous antics to Ron Swanson’s pessimistic views of government–could churn up a laugh, but there was always one thing that made it stand out more so than any other show. The character of Leslie Knope, local Parks Department Deputy Director turned federal government employee turned Governor of Indiana, has always been one of my favorites. Her over-enthusiasm for the diabetes-ridden, dingy town of Pawnee, Indiana, is humorous and borderline crazy to viewers, true, but I always found it inspiring. Leslie Knope, quirky and energetic government employee and waffle lover, is living and breathing proof that there are people in the world that are willing to anything and everything to provide for their community and the people within it, and I find that refreshing. The night the finale aired, while scrolling through my social media feed, one quote grabbed my attention among the swarm of cast members’ reminiscing and behind-the-scenes photos: “Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you are”. With this, I realized it wasn’t enough to just appreciate the people who make a change; you need to be the one who makes a change. It’s not enough to be a Ron Swanson, sitting bored at a desk detesting your job and complaining about nearly everything, while the Leslie Knopes of this world campaigns for change. In whatever you do (whether it be politics or teaching or medicine), have passion for what you do be the driving force, even if it’s something as trivial as helping clean up a slug infestation (as Leslie did on her “No Problem Too Small” campaign). Her incessant and unrelenting pride of where she’s from, despite its extreme flaws, is something everyone can take a note from. It’s important to remain loyal to everything and everyone that you love. The world would be a much better if place if there were more Leslie Knopes in it. leslieknopewaffriends

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