Longing for Pawnee Politics


I wonder what the people in the Parks and Recreation department of the municipal government are up to these days.

Granted, in a much bigger city than Pawnee, Indiana (in population, not per capita waistlines) there’s probably a larger Parks and Rec that is less like a family and more like a bunch of people eagerly watching the clock to get home to their real families. I picture the antithesis of Jerry (Gary? Larry?) Gurgich in the employees not liking their jobs and not having a blonde and beautiful wife with three blonde and beautiful daughters. Unfortunately I would still assume that there are certain employees there treated as the butt of all jokes like Jerry is at work.

But the real drama and excitement in City Hall – which no doubt Amy Poehler could turn into comedy and hilarity – is a strong backlash against a businessman mayor who believes cronyism is the best way to get talented people get into top level public positions. In a recent survey by a local paper, few city councillors were giving passing grades by more than half of their constituents – their own constituents – and yet no incumbent city councillor in the history of this city has ever been elected out of office. Either they have retired from government, switched to provincial or federal politics, or died. In some cases a new district was created but that’s about the best it gets. Well, the best it gets is that as far as I know none of our city councillors also has a dental practice running alongside their political career.

Municipal elections are a year away. It was a big enough surprise/disappointment that our current mayor got re-elected last time. What is particularly disturbing is the not-insignificant chance that nothing will change. Both the mayor and all councillors could be re-elected again despite failing approval ratings because so few people go out and vote. Voter turnout in municipal elections is consistently below fifty percent. Why? Because dissatisfied people are also pessimistic and think their vote won’t count not realizing that most of their compatriots feel the same way and could actually effect change together. Not enough people have the same much-needed town pride and optimism as Leslie Knope.

And I doubt there’s anyone in the Parks and Rec department anything like Tom Haverford. What a shame.


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