Legendary country music star Willie Nelson was in Washington, D.C., last week celebrating his 60-year career, as a recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. As a long-time supporter of the legalization of marijuana, PJ Media inquired during an interview at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall (where the awards ceremony took place) which candidate he plans to support in the presidential race. “Well, you know, it’s not over yet. I’m still watching the show but I’m a great Bernie and Hillary fan, you know,” Nelson said.
At a performance this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, Nelson – who has a much-admired reputation as a country music outlaw – let his audience know he has a very difference understanding of what it means to be an outlaw than many of the folks in Texas:
“That was never clearer than when he played Living in the Promised Land, a song he played 30 years ago at Farm Aid, towards the end of night. When he sang the words, ‘There’s still a lot of love living in the promised-land,’ they were met with rapturous applause. When he followed that up with, ‘There’s room for everyone living in the promised land,’ the room fell awkwardly silent. At a time when some Texans see fit to take their guns and protest outside Islamic mosques, Nelson seemed to take pleasure in making clear just what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be an outlaw.”
Country music has typically been the bastion of Conservatives, but Nelson has some superstar country music liberal friends including Merle Haggard, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, and Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late country music outlaw Johnny Cash. Cash, a guest at the award presentation honoring Nelson, told PJM:
“I’d love to see a women become president before I die”….offering, as if to make sure no one thought she was referring to Carly Fiorina, “She’s [Clinton] out there. I mean, I do like Bernie as well. It’s tough, you know. I’m an old-school liberal.”
Not surprisingly, Nelson has made some influential political friends as well. Of President Barack Obama, he said: “We talk about a lot of things. I’ve met him several times before, so he’s a good friend.” President Jimmy Carter, who shared this thoughts in a letter, said Nelson’s music has “enriched the lives of people far and wide for decades and that he is truly worthy of this prestigious and well-deserved award.”
Willie Nelson was born 82 years ago in Texas – he was raised a Methodist and still admits to some connection to the Church, but his politics have been liberal. Causes he backs include environmentalism, support for family farms, which he wrote about in an editorial for Politico earlier this year – and notably, the legalization of marijuana. So it should surprise no one that when asked what he likes about Sanders and Clinton, he responded “everything.”
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.