Elvis never used his power of celebrity in the political realm of the times
Politics Elvis: “I’d just soon to keep my own personal views about that to myself”
Hollywood celebrities could learn and thing or two about politics from the greatest entertainer in history. Elvis Presley never used his massive power of celebrity in the political realm of the times. In his 42 years of living, he was right up there with the presidents and the popes. The difference between politics Elvis and many of the starts today is that he loved people and in return almost all people loved Elvis.
On June 9, 1972, during the Vietnam War era, Elvis held a rare press conference preceding his famous Madison Square Garden concerts in New York. A reporter asked, “You were in the Army and were drafted. What is your opinion of war protesters? And would you today refuse to be drafted?”
“Honey, I’d just soon to keep my own personal views about that to myself,” Elvis replied. “Cause I’m just an entertainer and I’d rather not say.”
To label Elvis as a Democrat or Republican is futile exercise as attempting to peg him into one classification of music. Elvis was a massive and successful blend of Rock n’ Roll, Country, Blues, Pop, Soul and Gospel. Songs like “If I Can Dream,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” spoke to us as least as much as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “It’s Now or Never” and “Burning Love.”
Highlights of many of his 1970s concerts included patriotic offerings of “American Trilogy,” “America the Beautiful,” and “The Impossible Dream.”
“Let me tell you the definitive truth about Elvis Presley and racism,” The King of the Blues, B.B. King said in 2010. “With Elvis, there was not a single drop of racism in that man. And when I say that, believe me I should know.”
“All of our influences had something in common,” King explained. “We were born poor in Mississippi, went through poor childhoods and we learned and earned our way through music. You see, I talked with Elvis about music early on, and I know one of the big things in heart was this: Music is owned by the whole universe. It isn’t exclusive to the black man or the white man or any other color. It shared in and by our souls.”
“I know one of the big things in heart was this: Music is owned by the whole universe. It isn’t exclusive to the black man or the white man or any other color. It shared in and by our souls.”–B.B. King
“I told Elvis once–and he told me he remembered I told him this–is that music is like water,” King pointed out. “Water is for every living person and every living thing.”
King raised his finger up as if Elvis was still in front of him, and profoundly declared, “Water from the white fountain don’t taste any better than from the black fountain. We just need to share it, that’s all. You see, Elvis knew this and I know this.”
“Many people make the mistake of being wrong about all of this,” King continued. “If you ask anyone, I’m talking about people from all kinds of music—Blues, Soul, Country, Gospel, whatever—and if they are honest with you and have been around long enough to know—they’ll thank Elvis for his contributions. He opened many doors and by all his actions, not just his words, he showed his love for all people.
“His music, especially his Gospel songs, tell us all we need to know.” –Harold Loyd
Perhaps Elvis’ first cousin Harold Loyd, a security guard at the famous Graceland gates in Memphis, summed it up best in 1976, “All I know is Elvis has a lot of different blood in his body. He is part Cherokee. We share Jewish, Irish, Scottish and French blood on our mamma’s side. I think Uncle Vernon has Irish and French on his side. What we do know is there is only one God. His music, especially his Gospel songs, tell us all we need to know. He is good to me. Every day, I see how his kindness and generosity towards all people, no matter who they are, spreads.”
“Just look at the fans out here,” Loyd pointed to the visitors outside the gate. “They are different races. Women and men, boys and girls, tall and short. He loves his fans. They love him. He shows them how much– in his songs, not his politics.”
Memphis Mafia member and good friend Charlie Hodge lived at Graceland. Most fans know Hodge as the man who handed Elvis his water and scarves on stage. Hodge served in the Army with Elvis in Germany. In 1976, across the street from Graceland at the old Hickory Log restaurant, he observed, “If you want to know what Elvis believes, just look around his neck or on his fingers. He wears a Christian cross. He wears a Star of David. He wears a Hebrew Chai.”
Other friends note that it would be a mistake to place Elvis in a political basket. “He didn’t share his opinions in public for a reason,” said the late Sonny West, a former Memphis Mafia member. “Things have shifted so much. There is more division. Elvis loved John F. Kennedy and met LBJ. They were Democrats that would probably identify more with conservative Republicans today. He also met Jimmy Carter and I had the honor of being with Elvis when we went to the White House to visit with President Nixon. Even President Reagan switched over to the Republican Party during this time. Elvis was pro-American all the way.”
Regardless of his own political beliefs, Elvis firmly believed that the president should always be supported, regardless of his political affiliation. Memphis Mafia member Marty Lacker once said Elvis “liked the president no matter what party they were in.”
Following is News Legit’s list (alphabetically) of the top entertainers and Hollywood stars who should learn from the example of Elvis Presley.
Hollywood liberals love to voice their political opinions as if they relate to the everyday, average American. They hold themselves on an elite level, and act like we worship them. While many people are starstruck by celebrities, they only exist because of us. Once we turn off our televisions, boycott their movies, or not attend their performances, they cease to exist.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Robert De Niro
Samuel L. Jackson