Neil Young Calls for Empathy on Rioters

'The people ... have been so manipulated,' singer writes in call for unity
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2021 9:35 AM CST
Neil Young Calls for Empathy on Rioters
In this May 25, 2019, file photo, Neil Young performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley music fest at the Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif.   (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Neil Young made no secret of his Democratic leanings in the lead up to the 2020 election. But that doesn't mean he doesn't empathize with Capitol rioters. "I was shocked to see the Confederate flag being waved inside the chamber; the destruction and disrespect. But mostly I felt bad for the people," those "thousands who have been carrying the feeling of being persecuted for their beliefs, their feeling that American power just didn't care," the Canadian-American rocker writes on his website, in a call for unity, per the Guardian. "I feel empathy for the people who have been so manipulated and had their beliefs used as political weapons," adds Young, who just sold half of the rights to his song catalog for a reported $150 million, per MarketWatch. Indeed, "I may be among them."

While acknowledging the "double standard" in the treatment of rioters compared to Black Lives Matter protesters, Young focuses mainly on social media and its role in "amplifying lies and untruths." "With social media, issues are turned to psychological weapons and used to gather hatred in support of one side or the other," Young writes. "This is what Donald J. Trump has as his legacy." The president "has betrayed the people, exaggerated and amplified the truth to foment hatred," Young notes. As a result, "resentment of the Democratic party among the insurrectionists at the Capitol was rampant." But "we don't need this hate," Young writes. "We need discussion and solutions. Respect for one another's beliefs." In other words, "we must find a way home." (Young recently dropped a lawsuit against Trump.)

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