Neil Young pens pleading essay on Capitol riot: ‘We don’t need this hate’

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WATCH: Former governor of California and Hollywood film star Arnold Schwarzenegger released a video on Twitter in response to last weeks deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. – Jan 11, 2021
Neil Young performs in Amsterdam on July 10, 2019. Paul Bergen/Redferns

Canadian rock legend Neil Young has written an emotional, pleading essay about last week’s Capitol riot, blaming social media and President Donald Trump for the discord in the United States.

“Sadness and compassion hit me last night as I watched fellow Americans telling their stories,” the 75-year-old musician wrote.

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“We don’t need this hate,” he continued. “We need discussions and solutions. Respect for one another’s beliefs. Not hatred.”

Read more: Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks out on Capitol riot: ‘President Trump is a failed leader’

He made reference to the blatantly apparent difference between police reaction and enforcement during the Capitol riot and the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C.

“I was devastated to see the double standard,” he wrote, posting his essay to the Neil Young Archives. “The way people were treated in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations compared to the other day. There is no place here for white supremacy. People need each other to be truly free. Hatred will never find freedom.”

Young has long been critical of Trump, and until recently had a lawsuit against him for using his songs — without permission — during political rallies. But he didn’t reserve his distaste for the president alone; he also lashed out at social media as a whole, claiming it’s responsible for the unfixable division among people.

Read more: Stephen Colbert furiously reacts to Capitol riot: ‘Have you had enough?’

“I was shocked to see the Confederate flag being waved inside the chamber; the destruction and disrespect,” he wrote. “But mostly I felt bad for the people. With social media, issues are turned into psychological weapons and used to gather hatred in support of one side or the other. This is what Donald J. Trump has as his legacy.”

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“I feel empathy for the people who have been so manipulated and had their beliefs used as political weapons,” he continued. “I may be among them. I wish internet news was two-sided. Both sides represented on the same programs. Social media, at the hands of powerful people — influencers, amplifying lies and untruths, is crippling our belief system, turning us against one another. We are not enemies. We must find a way home.”

The rampage through the halls of Congress sent lawmakers of both parties and Trump’s own vice president into hiding, as mobs of Trump supporters called for Mike Pence’s lynching for his role overseeing the vote count. The scene also undermined the hallmark of the republic — the peaceful transition of power. At least five people died, including one Capitol Police officer.

Read more: Rudy Giuliani faces expulsion from New York State Bar Association

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Last week, Young became the latest musician to strike gold with his song catalogue, selling a 50 per cent stake in his music to a British investment company.

with files from The Associated Press

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