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The audacity of Knope

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Writer

I got very excited when Variety asked me to write my thoughts on being in the Oval Office, because this is a subject I’ve thought about once or twice. Which is to say: once or twice per day, every day, for 28 years.

Upon my historic presidential election — I can’t believe the vote was unanimous! — my first action would be to hold a large breakfast symposium, comprised of Democrats and Republicans, socialists and libertarians, civil rights leaders, academics and average citizens. And maybe also Beyonce Knowles, who I really want to meet and now can because I’m president. Let’s go ahead and also invite Jason Momoa, from “Game of Thrones” season one. His pecs will inspire us all to greatness.

At this breakfast symposium I would lead a scintillating discussion about what America really means: What are our values? Our goals? What can we do better, and how can we all do our part? I think a lot can be accomplished if we put partisanship aside and simply talk to each other. And then, since most of the people at this symposium would be men, I’d ask Beyonce to perform “Run the World (Girls)” while she and I stand next to a giant lion, like in the video, just so they’d all remember who’s boss.

(I should note my personal chef would be required to provide breakfast food for all meals, in every room of the White House, forever. No exceptions. A Knope presidency will be a waffle-based presidency, and everyone has to deal with that.)

After the symposium ended, I would take what I’d learned and start making tough decisions. First, since I believe that the civil rights and egalitarianism our founding fathers instilled in this nation are not to be trifled with, I would issue a presidential order that would very simply state: marriage equality for all. Please don’t tell me that gay marriage ruins marriage for straight people. I watched every second of the Kardashian-Humphries trainwreck. If the institution of marriage can survive that, it can survive two 50-year-old ladies quietly expressing their love in a courthouse somewhere.

Next, I would guarantee health care for all citizens, in all aspects of life. If men get Viagra, women get the pill. (Frankly, we need the latter to ward off the hazards of the former.) I would close Guantanamo Bay forever, wind down our two wars (with guidance from my secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and my chief “All Government Is Stupid” adviser, Ron Swanson), enact a tough but fair immigration policy, raise taxes on the wealthiest people and cut them for the middle class.

I’d give more hiring incentives to small businesses and close loopholes for megacorps that hide profits overseas, and lobby the Supreme Court to revisit Citizens United, because more money should not equal more power in the realm of elected office.

By then it would probably be dinner time, so I’d need more waffles.

That’s right. This is Day One I’m talking about. I’m not messing around here, people — we have things to do. (I’m realizing now I’m gonna need Beyonce to just stay at the White House for a while, to keep me revved up.)

In this greatest of all representative democracies, the people pour their collective faith into a small number of men and (a smaller number of) women, and the least those representatives can do is work tirelessly, around the clock, with a single purpose: to honor the trust the citizens have shown them. As your president, I promise you, no one will work harder, sleep less, drink more coffee or care more than I will.

Once, in my second year at the Pawnee Parks Dept., I was assigned a difficult project, and I went three days without sleeping, eating only Sun Chips and a weird bag of dried cherries I found in my glove compartment. But at the end of those three days, dammit, I had a solution to the problem! (We used toothbrushes to clean the bird dung off the statues. It worked great.)

I will be everyone’s president. I will work hard for all of you. I will also make out a lot with my boyfriend Ben in the Lincoln Bedroom because, come on, what’s more awesome than making out in the Lincoln Bedroom?!

Road to the Emmys 2012: The Writer
The audacity of Knope | It’s all-in or nothing for TV’s auteurs | Aging scribes still a sticky subject for TV | Cross-cultural exchange yields hits — and misses | Showrunners can’t wait for pickup lines
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