Neil Young is calling for empathy toward the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol, saying they’ve been “so manipulated and had their beliefs used as political weapons.”
The folk singer, who was raised in Omemee, Ont., recently shared a letter on his website addressing his sadness over the insurrection led by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters last Wednesday.
Young wrote that he “mostly felt bad for the people” at the Capitol who seemed determined to overturn the outgoing president’s election defeat.
He blamed Trump, as well as the social media platforms the president used, which the singer says are culpable in making political issues “psychological weapons and used to gather hatred.”
Young also denounced white supremacy and expressed dismay over the “double standard” at the Capitol riots, which he said contrasted the “way people were treated” at the Black Lives Matter marches last year.
The musician, who has long criticized Trump over issues such as climate change, became a U.S. citizen last year after living most of his adult life in California.
He’s stated one of the reasons he applied for dual Canadian-American citizenship was to vote against Trump in the 2020 election.
Young’s more sympathetic perspective comes after long denouncing Trump supporters. He addressed his sudden shift in perspective in his letter.
“I still have my strong beliefs. That has not changed,” he wrote.
“We are not enemies. We must find a way home.”