Willie Nelson Scheduled to Play First Political Benefit Concert for Beto O’Rourke

Photo courtesy of Larry Philpot.

Photo courtesy of Larry Philpot.

By CJ Groom, Reporter

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On Wednesday, Sept. 12, praised country musician Willie Nelson announced that he will be performing at an Austin rally for Texas Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke. The show is scheduled for Sept. 29 and will be free to the public. According to Nelson’s facebook post, he and his wife “had spoken with Beto” and “share his concern for the direction things are headed.” After internet backlash, Nelson later tweeted, “I didn’t come here and I ain’t leaving.” Though this tweet is up to interpretation, citizens of Texas have taken Nelson’s words personally and many have something to say back.

Due to the fact that this is Nelson’s first time playing for any political candidate, disgruntled fans took to Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere to exhibit their indignant opinions. Disappointed followers on Facebook labeled O’Rourke a “Socialist,” “Anti-American,” and accused him of “probably lying” to Nelson. One man even auctioned his Willie Nelson concert ticket off to fellow Twitter users. He claimed he was “no longer willing to watch” someone who “supports that damn socialist running for Senate.”

On the other hand, many loyal fans expressed much more positive opinions along with support for the singer and his political pal. Singer and songwriter Wheeler Walker Jr. tweeted his simple response: “You can argue politics all you want but you cannot argue Willie.”

Furthermore, Nelson has a long record of being politically active, including same-sex marriage, animal rights, and the legalization of marijuana. This is controversial in and of itself because of O’Rourke’s Republican competitor Ted Cruz, who has spoken on his strong opposition to marijuana legalization and other liberal matters. Additionally, Nelson was an Iraq war critic, a biofuel advocate, and environmental activist. O’Rourke’s public association with Nelson reveals that he will not let negative responses influence his decisions.

Earlier this year, Nelson was brought onstage at Beto’s Fourth of July Picnic. While at this event, the two men shared an invigorating jam session while being showered with cheers and a mentionable number of boos. Despite the fuss from the crowd, Beto and Nelson stood tall and proud. The country star believes “Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and integrity that is completely genuine.” The same could be said about Willie Nelson, and that is why these two may be a new iconic duo.