Mr. McConaughey Goes To Washington

I’ve never taken Matthew McConaughey seriously. He’s a very handsome actor who has been good in some movies and hammy in others. It’s hard to take seriously someone whose catch phrase is:

This week has proven that I was not only wrong about Matthew McConaughey, I was dazed and confused.

McConaughey born in Uvalde, Texas and lived there until he was 11 years old. He took the Uvalde massacre personally: his mother taught kindergarten in that town when he was a kid. He’s also married to a Latina, Camila Aviles, and has three children. He took the massacre personally.

Matthew McConaughey decided to act. He went from his stately home outside Austin to the massacre site and listened to the people devastated by the slaughter and the subsequent coverup by law enforcement.

Then he wrote a powerful op-ed piece for the Austin American-Statesman in which he suggested policy prescriptions to make future Uvaldes less likely:

“I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms. I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children. The debate about gun control has delivered nothing but status quo. It’s time we talk about gun responsibility.

There is a difference between control and responsibility. The first is a mandate that can infringe on our right; the second is a duty that will preserve it. There is no constitutional barrier to gun responsibility. Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people is not only the responsible thing to do, it is the best way to protect the Second Amendment. We can do both.”

Yesterday, McConaughey made an appearance in the White House briefing room and augmented his policy arguments with stories of the slaughtered children of Uvalde and their parents. Here’s the entire speech:

It was the performance of a lifetime because it was real. Not reality teevee real but raw, passionate real.

Voices on the right are already dismissing McConaughey’s speech as a Hollywood stunt. If it was a stunt, it was pure Texas. It was not a stunt. Matthew McConaughey takes the Uvalde massacre personally.

I have no idea if McConaughey’s impassioned plea will result in action in the senate. In a better world, it would shame 10 Republicans into allowing debate, but as we’ve seen before GOP senators are shameless. But I think there’s a chance for some progress and this is too important to sit back and be cynical.

Matthew McConaughey approaches this issue from neither the left nor the right. He’s a citizen who wants something done to minimize the future slaughter of children and their teachers. Instead of gun control or safety he discusses gun responsibility.

Words matter. I like the sound of gun responsibility. It beats the hell out of GOP irresponsibility on gun issues.

It shouldn’t take a massacre in a movie star’s hometown for us to take gun violence seriously. It’s time for our side to stop spouting statistics and tell the stories of people devastated by gun violence.  If Matthew McConaughey can take it personally, so can we.

Repeat after me: Statistics don’t win arguments, stories do.

Matthew McConaughey is alright, alright, alright.

The last word goes to Led Zeppelin: