Matthew McConaughey made headlines for his kindness

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey made headlines recently, but not for a new movie or television commercial. He joined other volunteers last Friday in preparing eight hundred turkey dinners for firefighters in Los Angeles battling wildfires. His team prepared an additional eight hundred dinners for local homeless shelters.

Our culture will remember McConaughey for his Academy Award-winning acting career. These firefighters will remember him for his kindness. 

“Three things that are important in life” 

Frederick Buechner: “When Henry James, of all people, was saying goodbye once to his young nephew Billy, his brother William’s son, he said something that the boy never forgot. And of all the labyrinthine and impenetrably subtle things that that most labyrinthine and impenetrable old romancer could have said, what he did say was this: ‘There are three things that are important in human life. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.’” 

Nancy Pelosi would agree. While I disagree strongly with the self-described “left-wing San Francisco liberal” on a wide range of issues, I agree with the advice she gave political candidates recently: “Show [voters] what’s in your heart, your hopes and dreams. It’s not about you. It’s about them.” 

Now let’s hear from the opposite side of the spectrum. 

Victor Davis Hanson is the author of The Case for Trump and a well-known conservative commentator. Responding to the “culture wars” of our day, he notes that “almost every cultural institution—universities, the public schools, the NFL, the Oscars, the Tonys, the Grammys, late-night television, public restaurants, coffee shops, movies, TV, stand-up comedy—has been not just politicized but also weaponized.” 

In the most polarized and politicized culture of my lifetime, Henry James’ advice is more urgent than ever.