I have always loved Parks and Recreation but have been well aware of the fact that I would not want to live in the city of Pawnee, Indiana. Citizens flocking to town hall meetings to scream about things that are implemented to make their lives better or keep them safe? That all felt far from the world I wanted to live in. It still feels that way, even as I watch news filter in that it is, sadly, the world I am living in.
With each new day, we see a rise in Coronavirus cases and, for whatever reason, people are fixated on the fact that it is all a “hoax.” Over 120,000 Americans have died and Susy from down the street refuses to wear a mask because she probably read on knowyourmaskandfacefacts.org that wearing a mask for an extended period of time can give you acne.
And so, with Susy from the down the street and Barb from chess club, I have realized that I’m living in a nightmare Pawnee town hall meeting, filled to the brim with citizens coming and yelling about a park opening or how they can walk on a sidewalk if you let someone else also walk on the sidewalk.
This all reminds me of one particular storyline in Parks and Recreation, where the citizens of Pawnee couldn’t read the difference between “tea” and “Ted” and threw Ted in the lake every year, and when they tried to change the town rule, it led to Garth Blundin (Patton Oswalt) filibustering about Star Wars for an extended period of time because he didn’t want Leslie Knope to be able to change the law. (Pawnee’s laws also include a lot of sexist rules because, again, Pawnee is not that different from the rest of the United States.)
Our current situation has people screaming into the faces of government officials about the use of masks. With statewide mandates in certain places in the United States, people are mad because … why? Do they want to fistfight a virus? I don’t understand how a mask is taking away your “freedoms,” but also living in a “free” country doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want. It just means you have the right to your freedoms and your opinions in a way that other countries do not. You still have to follow the law there, Karen.
So, one Twitter made these town hall meetings into an actual scene from Parks and Recreation for me and my soul.
If this weren’t so scary, I’d laugh, but the reality is that we’re living in a world where people don’t care about their fellow human beings. They care about their summer vacation and where they get to go and not whether they should be listening to doctors.
So yes, we are all living in Pawnee, but sadly, we don’t have a Leslie Knope willing to stand up and say, “Too bad, this is what’s happening for the good of everyone.” We’re leaderless and, at this point, I’d just like someone to step up and stop the country from just killing itself because it’s “summer” and we have some warped idea that we can all go out and do whatever the hell we want in the midst of a pandemic.
(via Buzzfeed, image: NBC)
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