Country music legend Willie Nelson has enraged some of his most conservative fans by announcing plans to play at a huge rally on behalf of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic insurgent threatening an election upset in Texas.
The 85-year-old star will headline a free outdoor show in Austin, Texas – in support of the Democrat who is pushing to unseat the Republican senator Ted Cruz in November’s midterms.
‘My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto and we share his concern for the direction things are headed’ Nelson said in a press release announcing the event – which his publicist suggested was his first-ever rally on behalf of a politician.
‘Beto embodies what is special about Texas – an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine’.
The move seems to have surprised and upset some of Nelson’s fans – even though he has a long record as an activist on a range of liberal issues.
I am no longer willing to watch that hippie guitarist who supports that damn socialist running for Senate’.
A woman wrote on Nelson’s Facebook page: ‘Just cause you can write a song – sing a song – play a guitar and smoke weed – doesn’t mean you know what’s right for this state!!!
Entertainers should stay out of politics & stick to entertaining’.
Another disgruntled fan said: “You should stay out of politics. I’m a lifelong fan this is not a smart move.”
That fan was quickly shot down by a Nelson supporter – who replied: ‘Lifelong fan unaware of Willie’s decades of political activism’.
From campaigning to legalize marijuana to supporting the LGBT movement – Nelson has scarcely hidden his progressive credentials during his long career.
As well as being co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – Nelson was a critic of the Iraq war – an advocate of biofuels and a supporter of animal rights campaigns.