While many of us spent Sunday enjoying grilled food and watching fireworks light up the sky, Matthew McConaughey recorded a message of unity for his fellow Americans on the Fourth of July.
And, in honor of Independence Day, the actor, producer and possible future politician took to Instagram to share it.
“Happy Birthday, America,” he began in a two-and-a-half minute video clip. “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 a head-scratcher.”
That’s certainly a fair description of a year filled with polarizing politics, a presidential election, a global pandemic, racial tensions and social turmoil. Given all of that, the 51-year-old star felt it was important to remind everyone that, as nations go, ours is still a young one, and we still have a long road ahead.
“We’re babies as a country,” he continued. “We’re basically going through puberty in comparison to other countries’ timelines, and we’re going to go through growing pains. ... This is not an excuse, this is just the reality. And this is good, because we’ve got to keep learning, we’ve got to keep maturing, we’ve got to keep striving, we’ve got to keep climbing, we’ve got to keep building, and we’ve got to 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.”
McConaughey wore a white dress shirt, open at the neck, a pair of gold-framed aviator sunglasses and he had his hair slicked back as he delivered his address seated in front of an American flag.
“I believe that America, and you and I — I believe we're an aspiration, right?” he noted. “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’ve got to 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.”
And, to anyone who doesn’t wish to play a cooperative role in that collective, he added, “Move on. Go somewhere else.”
He then asked his fellow citizens to reflect on that, to look at “where we’ve come from, where we are and how and where we want to go from here,” and then he challenged them to do something more.
“Now what if that was a song, and each of us just said, ‘I can’t not sing that song?'” the Oscar winner mused. “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’ve got to be, and again, the alternative sucks.”
After playing a clip from the star's address Monday morning, TODAY’s Craig Melvin quipped, “To give a speech like that on the Fourth of July, in front of a flag ... Yeah, he’s running.”
For political office, he means. And it’s no wonder he thinks so. In March, McConaughey visited TODAY and spoke with Al Roker about his rumored political ambitions — particularly about whether he might run for governor of Texas in 2022.
"Look, it's a very honorable consideration," the actor said. "So am I considering that? Sure, it's a great thing and an honorable thing to be able to consider.”