Tag Archives: social issues

Parks and Revolution

I recently began a Netflix adventure of binge-watching “Parks & Rec.” I’ve tried in the past to get into the show, but until recently I wasn’t a fan . However, this time , I realized that Leslie Knope is the grown-up version of myself.

“Parks & Rec” isn’t only a hilarious show, it’s also revolutionary. In the past, popular shows seemed detached from reality and didn’t touch on important issues. Watching the show, I found myself noticing jokes that touched on political issues quite cleverly.

For example, Leslie’s best friend, Anne, decides she wants to have a baby. In television, it’s very rare that characters take on an unconventional parenting role. Anne is a single nurse who decides that she wants to be artificially inseminated, which is definitely a new concept in TV.

Many other characters take on roles that in the past would have been quite scandalous. One couple that makes a frequent appearance involves a prissy, overtly Christian woman and her flamboyant husband. The irony of the situation is that they speak out frequently in support of abstinence-only sex education. With this pair, “Parks & Rec” knocks out two birds with one stone: they address the issue of gay people being suppressed and forced into relationships where they act straight, and the issue of abstinence-only education.

In the past, there may have been some jokes here and there about those issues, but characters in this show take the time to have a meaningful, insightful dialogue about them.

Another revolutionary character is the man himself, Ron Swanson. Ron is the epitome of masculinity: he eats copious amounts of meat, has a killer mustache and refutes anything that could make him appear weak. My personal favorite trait of Ron is that he is a devout Libertarian. In the past, shows may suggest that their characters are either Republican or Democrat, but Ron Swanson is the first Libertarian character who lives those values.

Ben, Leslie’s husband, begins working at a non-profit organization where he is spoiled with exquisite dinners and works in an office almost entirely made of mahogany wood. Immediately, Ben starts cutting back the non-profit’s spending to allow money to be spent towards their charities. It’s often reported that non-profits are spending money inappropriately when that money could be used for charity. This is an issue that’s rarely discussed, but “Parks & Rec” manages to discuss and dissect it clearly.

Overall, I think “Parks & Rec” is a revolutionary show which discusses political and social issues in a way that makes even the most absent-minded viewer aware. There are numerous other issues that are touched on throughout the show’s existence which may be addressed in both big and small ways. It’s a tragedy that the show has been cancelled, but hopefully Netflix will save the day and buy it.

 

The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions
The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions

 

Anti-abortion Libertarians: Living, Breathing Contradictions

The Libertarian party has picked up quite a bit of steam in the past couple of years. More and more Americans are identifying as Libertarian, although few seem to actually vote Libertarian. I started following the Libertarian Party on Facebook last year when Robert Sarvis was running for senator in the state of Virginia. For those of you who don’t know, Libertarians typically preach little government control in many different aspects including gun rights, drug legality and use, and abortion.

Pro-life protesters. Graphic from The Blaze
Libertarians seem to have diverse views on abortion. Graphic from The Blaze

Overall, Libertarians truly emphasize the importance of liberty with little government interference. One post on the Libertarian Party Facebook page shows a woman, standing nude with the words “I’m a Libertarian because my body is my property.” When you ask a true Libertarian what their stance on abortion is, typically the answer will be somewhere along the lines of, “I believe you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights.” Whether or not they necessarily agree with abortion, the motto for the Libertarian party seems to be, “it’s your choice.”

Reading the comment section on this particular post, the true Libertarians seem to be few and far between. One comment read, “her body is her property, the babies property is HIS property.” It’s obvious that by “HIS” property, this person is talking about God. Several other comments were similar to, “I don’t agree with abortion, but I’m a proud Libertarian for many other reasons!” Many more of these pseudo-Libertarians argued that abortion was actually against the ideals of the Libertarian party because the “unborn babies rights were being violated.”

Let’s break this down. Libertarians believe in little government interference in people’s personal lives including gay marriage and abortion, along with many other rights. We believe that you can do whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn’t obstruct someone else’s rights. If anyone says they’re a Libertarian but would willingly vote against abortion, they’re not a Libertarian. If one would willingly take away a woman’s right to get a safe abortion because “that baby has rights too,” they’re not a Libertarian. No true Libertarian would agree that an unborn cluster of cells has more right than a living, breathing woman.

One of the best arguments I spotted while scrolling through this comment section was that a Libertarian would never agree that if a child needed a kidney, the parent should be forced to give up one of theirs. It’s the same concept. If a woman finds herself pregnant whether by rape, failed birth control, or whatever the case may be, she shouldn’t be forced to volunteer her body for 9 months if she doesn’t want to. Pregnancy is a great source of stress, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’d imagine being pregnant when you want to be pregnant is stressful enough, I can’t imagine what it’d be like if you didn’t want to be pregnant.

Although I’m happy that more Americans are accepting the Libertarian Party as a legitimate political party, there are going to be a lot of fakers. Being a Libertarian takes a lot of tolerance that I don’t think the Right side has. Unfortunately a lot of neoconservatives seem to be getting confused and identifying as Libertarian. The ideals of this party need to be put out on the table with the words “no exceptions.” Hopefully once the ideals of this party are put out in the open, we can weed out the true Libertarians and the party can move forward with few controversies.