Yes, we can: 10 shows that challenge America to be better

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Parks and Recreation

What it’s about: A feminist, optimistic civil servant does everything in her power to make Pawnee, Indiana the best town it can be.

What it fought for: Ron Swanson would have voted for Gary Johnson in 2016, and that’s okay.

Ideologically, the staffers of the Pawnee Parks department and their friends were barely ever on the same page. But we never really doubted that they were good people. The country was a very divided place when Parks and Rec debuted in 2009 and the polarization has only increased in the intervening years. However, the series remained confident that common ground and mutual respect could be found in any circumstance, even between a liberal, quasi-Socialist Deputy Director and her libertarian, government-distrusting boss.

And Parks and Rec didn’t only stress the importance of inter-political tolerance; it also pushed for citizens to participate more in the causes they care about. If it was hard not to be cynical about politics and government when the series was on, it’s just about impossible now. That’s why we should look to the classic comedy for hope. Leslie Knope and the gang are steadfast in their belief that anyone can make a difference if they’re passionate enough — and people can surprise you if you give them a chance.

So, hey, maybe Ron would’ve voted for Hillary after all. He does attend a shocking number of WNBA games.

Where to watch: The entire series is streaming on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.