Alan Grayson, a three-term U.S. Representative from Florida (D-Orlando), is looking forward to bringing his political, legal, and business experience to the US Senate. He attended the Library of Congress event last Wednesday when Willie Nelson received the Gershwin Prize. He sent this letter to friends and family after the event.
|I wish that you could have been there with me last Wednesday night, at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Willie Nelson did something magical. Something I’ll never forget. After that miserable anti-refugee vote earlier that day, he found the perfect way to honor our common humanity.
Willie received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, bestowed by the Library of Congress. In his honor, a packed auditorium listened to covers of his great songs, performed by Neil Young, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper, and a dozen other amazing performers. At the end of that incredible show, Willie himself took the stage, with his two sons and a few others, and he performed three wonderful songs.
Willie could have played “On the Road Again,” “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and “Crazy,” and left it at that. It was his night, receiving one of the highest honors America can bestow. But he knew that the House of Representatives had passed a terrible slam-the-door-in-their-faces bill just a few hours earlier, and that a number of Congressmen who voted for that awful piece of offal were in the audience. In fact, one of them, Kevin McCarthy, was sitting almost right next to him.
So Willie Nelson saved his best for last. He reached deep, deep down in his personal playlist, and pulled out a song from three decades ago. His last song that night was a musical slap in the face to those who had voted, just a couple of hours earlier, to turn away people in danger, in desperate need. The song is called “Living in the Promiseland,” and it starts like this:
Give us your tired and weak,
Leave us your broken dreams,
The audience went wild. Absolutely, totally wild.
And I felt proud that I had voted against that stinking meadow-muffin of a bill, that putrid cow pie in the form of legislation. Proud to be in the audience, honoring that great man. Proud to be part of the worldwide community of decent human beings.
After the show, I went to Willie’s tour bus, joined him and his wife Annie, and thanked them both.
Willie Nelson, November 18, 2015: It could have been his night, and his night alone. But he made it our night.
Rep. Alan Grayson
donate and support Mr. Grayson
I am un-bought and un-bossed. I carry the banners of justice, equality, compassion and peace. My compass is the greatest good for the greatest number. With your help, and the help of all kindred spirits, we will continue this fight, and WIN!