Post-"Parks" Depression: 15 Reasons Why Leslie Knope Is One of the Greatest Female TV Characters Ever

Post-"Parks" Depression: 15 Reasons Why Leslie Knope Is One of the Greatest Female TV Characters Ever

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Almost two weeks ago, an amazing show aired its final episode. That show was NBC's Parks and Recreation. After seven seasons of smart, clever hilarity, of stellar characters and story lines, of an outstanding group of writers and actors, the curtain sadly closed for good. As an avid fan of the Parks Gang, I have been in a state of depression ever since. For those of you who have ever had "a show,' this one or otherwise, that has ended, you know what I'm feeling. I am not ashamed to admit that post-series finale, I have been going through the five stages of grief: first is denial and/or isolation (I refused to accept the show was over, then preceded to watch the entire series all over again. Side note, I finished the whole series in the eleven days since Parks has been off the air); second is anger (the fact that someone had the audacity to end one of the greatest shows of the 21st century still kind of enrages me); third is bargaining (me: "God/NBC heads, I will give you literally anything to bring this show back"); fourth is depression (to be honest I'm still in this stage and don't know if I'll ever be out of this stage, but I'll keep you posted); and finally, the fifth stage, which is acceptance (again, I'll keep you posted if I ever reach this stage).

Kubler-Ross grief model aside, for those of us who are fans of Parks and Rec, it's been a pretty tough two weeks, and Tuesdays will never be the same. But, despite the sadness, it's time to appreciate the genius that was this show. However, that would mean appreciating everything and probably writing a million page article, which is not what anyone wants. Except for me, I'd totally do it in a heart beat.

Semi-joking aside, I decided it was best to focus on only one genius thing from this show. This genius thing is the character of Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler easily created one of the greatest female characters on television today. Not only was Leslie a strong female lead, she was a hilarious and relatable one, too. This was a character that women actually could/do/can always look up to. And here are some reasons why.

1.) Leslie is super smart. This one is a complete no brainer. She's an educated, innovative woman who has both book and (sometimes) street smarts. She is also a fairly gifted people-person, one who knows how to bring out the best in those around her, as well as motivate coworkers/peers to work hard for their/her/a cause. Sometimes, it doesn't come off correctly and it may cause some discord, but she always finds a way to fix it. That takes some serious brain power.


2.) She's passionate about what she cares for. Parks, Ben, her department, Ann, Pawnee, her friends, scrapbooking, Ann again, hating Eagleton, waffles, paperwork, some more Ann, hating and hoping for the destruction of libraries, probably Parks and Ben one more time, and of course Ann. All of these things, and I'm sure more, are what Leslie is passionate about. And when she's passionate about something or someone, she doesn't stop working for the perfect end-goal or solution. I know I'm still trying to find what I'm passionate about, so to have so many things that hold her attention and drive her is something worth striving for.

3.) Leslie Knope=Queen of Comebacks. Sometimes awkward and/or aggressive, yet always hilarious, Leslie kills the comeback game. She can hit where it hurts, or at least give a solid attempt to. I mean, you can't ask for much else.

4.) She's all about gender equality and the empowerment of women. Leslie Knope is a strong believer and fighter for women's equality both in government and in general. She both idolizes and admires strong, powerful, smart women and tries to be that kind of woman herself so she can inspire the future generation (and sometimes herself).

5.) She's committed. When she believes in something or wants something, she'll fight for it, and she won't stop until things are achieved. Leslie Knope does not give up. Ever.


6.) Drunk Leslie is pretty much every drunk girl ever. This one kind of speaks for itself. If you've ever been around a drunk girl, you know that Leslie embodies it perfectly.

7.) Her friendship and marriage are the definition of real relationship goals. I mean seriously, she hit the relationship jackpot. Her friendship in Ann is what every girl looks for in having a best friend: they're two peas in a pod, but on things they do differ on, they find ways to work around it; they just love each other as they are. And her marriage with Ben? She found her perfect other half. He respects and loves her for who she is, he perfectly balances her out, and their goofy relationship is what every girl should actually aim for.


8.) Leslie Knope is the most creative complimenter ever. Anyone who is a Parks fan has always secretly wanted to be at the end of a Leslie Knope compliment. Seriously, these things are off the charts. Granted, most are directed towards Ann, but either way. They're amazing.

9.) The way Leslie handles boys/dating. Any girl knows the confusion, excitement, and overall emotional ups and downs of dating. Dating isn't perfect. Actually, half the time it makes us go crazy. Instead of a perfect Hollywood-like look at dating, Leslie handles it just like the rest of us.


10.) She's so optimistic. No matter how bad things are going, how much the cards are stacked against her, Leslie always keeps a positive look on things. Sometimes it's scary how positive she is, but in a good way. She'll either keep a happy, brave face or find a silver lining to any situation.


11.) Leslie isn't afraid to be herself. A lot of us struggle to become comfortable in our own skin, but Not Leslie Knope. No matter who or what is going on around her, she doesn't change herself. She holds true to who she is. That takes a lot of strength.



12.) Her love of breakfast food and hate of salads. I mean not much more can be said; she loves her waffles and hates salads. But that's a very real world thing. I don't care what anyone says, breakfast food is the best kind of food out there. What other type of food can be eaten at any time of day? Plus, it's just plain delicious no matter what you get. On the opposite end of the spectrum are salads. No matter how people try to spin it, they're just gross. No one says salad is their favorite food, and if they do they're big fat liars. End of story.


13.) Leslie Fangirls like the rest of us. We all have celebrity crushes, people we strive to be like, and things we just geek about. So does Leslie, granted, most of hers involve politicians, but she fangirls nonetheless. Not only is having a character that has such fangirl tendencies refreshing to see, so are her reactions to meeting them. She acts as any of us would meeting the people we obsess about.

14.) She's selfless. Leslie Knope rarely thinks of herself. She puts everyone before herself, and I mean everyone. Sure, she puts her loved ones ahead of her, but she also makes the wellbeing of strangers a top priority. She wants to do what's best for her town (and eventually many other towns) always. Even when they don't agree and they attack her, she still stands by them and does what she thinks is right. That is amazing.

15.) She is the kind of best friend and person you want in your life. All of these reasons (and more that I really have no time or space to fit) have culminated to this final reason. Leslie Knope is an amazing (fictional) human being. If you wanted one person in your corner, it would be her. She brings out the best in people, pushes them to realize their potential, all while supporting and loving them for who they are. What else could you ever want in a person?


So there you have it, folks, proof Leslie Knope is one of the greatest female characters ever. Parks and Rec will be very missed, but I know we will all especially miss the amazing character that was Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler, we will forever be indebted to you for your genius. Now excuse me while I go cry and binge eat some waffles.

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

Cover Image Credit:

https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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The American Paradox: ​Colonial-Settler Capitalism Vs Native International Federalism

The European Nation-State Structures Supporting Colonial-Settler Systems Towards Capitalism; And The Native American Confederation That Is An Internationalist Collective Towards The Unity Of All The Tribes Of Humanity.

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Throughout the history of the United States there has been two major contradictions: the state apparatuses formed off of the model of European nations, and the federal structure modeled off of the native tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. While these two systems have evolved side-by-side with one another; there are differences that need to be highlighted. There is a clear connection between the atrocities committed by the European structures that caused the genocide of the native population and the enslavement and forced migration of African populations towards the end goal of profiting economically. There is also a clear connection with the ideals embodied in the federal structure and act of unity designed to integrate and concentrate a multi ethnic, multi cultural structure towards the aim of a transcended system designed to bond human species.

When we look in closer details to this colonial settlers heritage, it has a lot in line with Anglo Saxon superiority, which extended into Anglo American superiority, which we consider today as "white supremacy". This perspective of racial supremacy and ethnic identity has conflicted with the basic pretexts of the model of native designed federalism by sheer fact that the atrocities of mass genocide of the native population and enslavement of Africans populations. Defense and justification was rationalized by the ideas of European style nation-states which became a main aspect of the colonial-settler structure that has built the United States's States and defended the corresponding structure of capitalism it supported. This structure of capitalism, white supremacy, and nation-states serve to culminate into the colonial-settlers apparatus that ultimately embodies some of the worst aspects of imperialism and other forms of exploitation. The colonial wars with native peoples, the manifest destiny against the rest of the native population in the continent as well as the conquest of Mexico, the overseas expansion that occurred during the Spanish-American war, and the modern imperialism/neocolonialism via corporations and global military domination of the post World War II "Pax Americana"; just to name a few examples of the colonial-settlers atrocities. As Martin Luther King Jr once said, this is the mentality of the "triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism"; which was another way of describing what has been embodied in the colonial-settler structure, and is something dating back to the origins of the United States. But even with these atrocities, the origin of the United States is shared by its federalism.

Federalism was the basis that formed the United States in its beginning via the Articles of Confederation, and later the adoption of the Constitution and the formation of the federal government. While the colonial-settler structures blended with this, Federalism was a creation of native peoples in America. The idea of federalism was rooted in the collective native tribes of America who formed a confederation most know today as the Iroquois Confederacy. It was a coalition of tribes that came together to form a collective that worked in the interests of the group as a whole rather than any one individual tribe. These basic pretexts of political organization, coupled with native economic values of resource conservation and egalitarian distribution towards members of the collective tribe; formatted an institutional system that strikingly contrasts the individualism of European nation-states and their economic structure of capitalism with its privatization and self-serving incentives. This manner of transcended organization beyond any one particular tribe structure allowed for a system of unity that could be seen as a proto-form of internationalism, given theoretically the tribes welcomed all other tribes. The development of this international perspective likely was influenced by the interconnected trade network systems that intertwined the Americas in multiple structures of trade and commerce. It has been said that the Iroquois Confederacy developed the concept of a peace belt, a belt used to signify members of the confederation and a sign of friendship to the tribes connected in the vast North American and Pan-American trade networks. One could compare this to a proto form of universal citizenship/international passport. It is worth noting that this internationalist mentality has corresponded with the US federal structure in its motto E Pluribus Unum.

In the end, the atrocities of the European nation-states and its corresponding loyalty to capitalism has all but destroyed the native Federation and its corresponding economic system and mentality of international unity of the human species. The colonial-settler structure of the United States continues to wage a campaign of imperialism as a means of expanding the economic capacity of its capitalist structure via exploitation internally of the populace within its borders!and colonial territorial apparatuses; as well as protruding externally with an expanse of militarism on a global scale as a way of consolidating economic domination and exploitation. The loss of the memory of the history of federalism, the native mentality of egalitarian internationalism, and other tragedies inflicted by the cruelties of the colonial-settler imperial occupation derived from European systems of government do not hold unilateral hegemony over the course and path of the United States federal government. While the two corresponding structures have codeveloped, the inherent nature of the colonial-settler system is not one that is unalterable or invulnerable.

The basic pretexts outlined in early draft of the Articles of Confederation, such as the model written by Thomas Paine, outlined a federal government that instituted universal citizenship, voting rights for all, abolish of slavery, economic protection and egalitarian distributive methods, amongst many other attributes lost to placate the colonial-settler heritage. Entire wars have been fought to curtail this colonial-settler imperialism, and in the end the federal Union has repelled and advanced, even if slower than desired. The momentum of history will approach a point in which the colonial-settlers structure collapses internally and externally, just as every imperial power has; but with the legacy of the native union embodied in American federalism, the potential for a rebirth and rejuvenation of that lost perspective is possible. And when that perspective is revived and re-instituted, the United States can finally live up to its motto: Out of Many, One.

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