On Tuesday night, during an event celebrating his career at the Museum of Modern Art, Tom Hanks used his acceptance speech as an opportunity to try and provide the American people with some reassurance. Tensions have been running high since Donald Trump became the president-elect last week, and many Americans, particularly men and women of color and members of the LGBT community, are understandably afraid of how their lives will be affected by a Trump presidency.
The award-winning actor went on to list the many struggles Americans have survived so far, then argued that, despite all of these unfortunate events, the country as a whole has survived and continued to progress because of the U.S. Constitution.
‘We have this magnificent thing that is in place, it’s a magnificent document, and it starts off with these phrases that if you’re smart enough, you memorized in school, or, just read it enough so you learned it by heart, or, you kind of watched those things on ABC where they taught you little songs, and the song goes like, [sings] “We the People … in Order to form a more perfect Union. establish Justice and insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare,” and it goes on and on. That. That document is going to protect us, over and over again, whether or not our neighbors preserve and protect and defend it themselves.’
Hanks ended his speech with a patriotic message about the United States always working towards becoming “a more perfect Union.”
‘We are going to be all right, because we constantly get to tell the whole world who we are. We constantly get to define ourselves as Americans. We do have the greatest country in the world. We may move at a slow pace, but we do have the greatest country in the world, because we are always moving towards a more perfect Union. That journey never ceases. It never stops.’
He even threw in a reference to a Bruce Springsteen song, before promising one last time that, although people are scared and confused now, the country will move forward and continue to improve.
‘Sometimes, like in a Bruce Springsteen song, one step forward, two steps back. But we still, aggregately, move forward. We, who are a week into wondering what the hell just happened, will continue to move forward. We have to choose to do so. But we will move forward, because if we do not move forward, what is to be said about us?’
It is inspiring speeches such as this one that have caused people like Michael Moore to suggest that Tom Hanks himself run for president in 2020. Hanks, unlike Donald Trump, however, knows that he does not have the qualifications necessary to lead a country.
He said in an interview with Vulture about the suggestion, “Just because I’m an actor, I can give a good speech, I agree with that. But the concept of actually voting for someone just because they can do that? Then Monty Hall could have been president of the United States! I get what he’s saying, I understand, but I don’t buy my participation.”
Featured image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.