On Independence Day, actor and Texas icon Matthew McConaughey took to social media in a two-and-a-half-minute address that The New York Post called “Bizarre” which stressed, the way only McConaughey can, need for Americans to move on from division and find unity. In the actor’s shot at a feel-good message, he characterized our 245-year-old nation as “going through puberty in comparison to other countries’ timelines” and the massive civil and political upheaval of the last five years as “growing pains”. Reactions to the speech have been…. mixed, to say the least. The Post’s Samuel Chamberlain wrote “All right, all right, all … wait, what?”, Dr. Sebastian Gorka retweeted the video echoing McConaughey’s most controversial sentiment “If you don’t love America, you can leave!”
happy 245th birthday America – lets rock pic.twitter.com/MiLKZ0HN8y
— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) July 4, 2021
The McConaughey July 4th Speech To The American People
“Happy Birthday, America. Yes, indeed.
“As we celebrate our independence today, as we celebrate our birth as a nation, the day that kick-started a revolution to gain our sovereignty, let’s admit that this last year, this trip around the sun, was also another head-scratcher.”But let’s also remember that we’re babies as a country.”
“We’re basically going through puberty in comparison to other countries’ timelines, and we’re going to go through growing pains. We are going through growing pains.”
“This is not an excuse, this is just the reality, and this is good because we got to keep learning, we got to keep maturing, we gotta keep striving, we gotta keep climbing, we gotta keep building. And we gotta make sure we maintain hope along the way, as we continue to evolve.”
“Why? Because it’s who we are. Why? Because the alternative sucks.”
“I believe that America and you and I… I believe we are an aspiration.”
“We’re constantly in motion, we’re on the way, trying to get wiser, trying to get braver, trying to dream more, trying to do more, trying to be more fair, take the right kind of responsibilities, to gain the right kind of freedoms, and we gotta keep realizing that we’re a place where our individual pursuits and desires need to be appreciative and supportive of our collective responsibilities as Americans.”
“Hence, the United States of America.”
“Sure, we’re each unique. We’re each independent. We each have innate abilities that others don’t have, as people and as states. But at the same time, we are all in this together, and if you don’t purchase that, move on. Go somewhere else.”
“So, as we celebrate the Red, White and Blue this weekend, let’s be sure and just reflect just a minute, take a little bit of inventory on where we’ve come from, where we are and how and where we want to go from here on the way to being the best we can be.”
“Now what if that was a song, and each of us just said, ‘I can’t not sing that song’? I want to be a little bit better, you want to be a little bit better. Let’s be on the way to being the best we can be. Let’s make that a song we can’t not sing. Why? Because it’s who we are. It’s who we gotta be, and again, the alternative sucks.”
“Let’s rock, America. Happy Birthday, just keep livin’. I’ll see you there.”
What’s His Angle?
According to Forbes, McConaughey may be considering a run for Texas Governor describing himself as “aggressively centrist” it’s unknown if he would primary Governor Greg Abbott as a Republican or enter the race as a Democrat. Forbes wrote, “In late May in an appearance on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show, McConaughey told guest host Garth Brooks that running for governor is something he will “give honest consideration” to.” The Democrats have yet to field a candidate for the 2022 race, but Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, told Politico if McConaughey chooses to run on the ticket, he would “welcome him,”
The last Democrat Governor of Texas was Ann Richards 26 years ago. A poll from The Dallas Morning News and UT Tyler gave Gov. Abbott a 1 point lead on McConaughey with 39% and 38% respectively 23% of Texans said they would vote for someone else. More fascinatingly both Democrats and Republicans who chose McConaughey said that it was overwhelmingly the actors “Honesty, to tell it like it is” that was a definitive factor in their decision. Furthermore, 38% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans who chose him said “He shares (their) values”. What does that give Matthew McConaughey? Something almost unheard of in 2021: mass appeal.
However, in our brutally polarized political field, any goodwill on either side would instantly evaporate if he chooses to side with a party. Historically, his best option is to Primary Abbott as a populist-moderate Republican leveraging hard on Abbott’s perceived issues with the Texas Winter Storm and subsequent power outage. If he decides to run as an independent, then McConaughey has a serious uphill battle ahead of him to unseat the still very popular Greg Abbott, but to keep his “aggressively centrist” image it may be the only way.
No matter what, his Independence Day video only feeds the hype that he might be running. If he jumps into the race, it’ll only help him if he follows up quickly with a clear platform to answer questions from voters on both sides.