America’s Dad Tom Hanks Wants to Reassure You That America Will Be Okay

MoMA Film Benefit Presented By CHANEL, A Tribute To Tom Hanks - Inside
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Tom Hanks wants to “strangle” Michael Moore for suggesting him as a potential Democratic candidate to run against Trump in 2020, but the actor certainly stepped up to a leadership role on Tuesday night. During a tribute to his career at the Museum of Modern Art presented by Chanel, Hanks diverted from the usual acceptance speech rhetoric to reassure everyone in the audience that “we are going to be all right,” with a civics lesson inspired in part by Schoolhouse Rock. Still, Hanks told Vulture he doesn’t think he’s qualified enough for a run. “Just because I’m an actor, I can give a good speech, I agree with that,” he said. “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.” (Although for fun, if he did run, he’d like Happy Days star Anson Williams — Potsie — to be his VP, “because everybody loves him.” Sorry, Ron Howard).

For those who could use a little reassurance, here’s an excerpt of Hanks’s speech, which uses the power of the constitution, a song, and Bruce Springsteen to convince everyone “wondering what the hell just happened” that we’ll move forward:

We are going to be all right. America has been in worst places than we are at right now. In my own lifetime, our streets were in chaos, our generations were fighting each other tooth and nail, and every dinner table ended up being as close to a fist fight as our families would allow. We have been in a place where we looked at our leaders and wondered what the hell were they thinking of? We’ve had moments with administrations and politicians and leaders and Senators and governors where we asked ourselves, Are they lying to us? Or do they really believe in this? That’s all right. 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.

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. 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?

Let Tom Hanks Reassure America, We’ll Be Okay