Our hero, Leslie Knope — a fictional character just too good to be true — penned an open letter in the style of Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Club for Vox today. She addresses the Trump victory, the Clinton loss and all the little (and big) girls (and boys) who don't quite know how to start moving forward into their incumbent president-elect future.
Knope — after many packets of hot chocolate and consolation with her best friend Anne Perkins — starts by telling the story of a classroom election between "bookish-looking cartoon tortoise named Greenie" and totally random, boorish candidate "Dr. Farts," a T-Rex who farts a lot and eats teachers.
When the classroom elects Dr. Farts in a landslide victory, a young Knope is left the lone, confused, shocked supporter of Greenie. While the injustice is pertinent — he wasn't qualified! he's disgusting! he's a bully! he eats teachers! — her teacher wisely points out, "The point of the lesson is: People are unpredictable, and democracy is insane.”
Knope goes on to tell us that yes, democracy is insane, but it's also the way it is, and in a way, "People making their own decisions is, on balance, better than an autocrat making decisions for them." While she condemns those some of those chosen decisions and Trump and all that he stands for and represents, Knope leads a productive discussion in what we can do next. She writes"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 encourages the next generation of young female leaders to not let this win discourage them — not like the men (and women) who supported Trump make them fearful or rendered useless — but to prepare and plan and fight for equality and respect, not only for themselves but for all.
She concludes: "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."