Oliver Anthony’s Rich Men North of Richmond has struck a chord with a lot of people. The song expresses some of the anger that many people are feeling as they have been left behind.
Anthony is upset that many people interpret this song politically. It got played at the Republican debate, and those feeding right wing populism have claimed the song as theirs. Anthony says that the song isn’t about right or left He says that the song isn’t about Joe Biden, that the problem is bigger than Joe Biden Now I have some problems with some of the lyrics , particularly
Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat
And the obese milkin’ welfare
Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds
Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds
That sounds like the old welfare. queen racist attacks that have been used by those that scapecoat the poor to divide us from each other. Anthony insists that his other songs defend the poor that he wants his music to unite us. And if you watch his reaction video, he seems really sincere even so. The image of those people who are getting something that they don’t deserve and taxing the rest of us is a device of image and has been for a long time.
The anger, the frustration is real. The hopelessness, the depression, the addiction addiction. This is all real and out there and the causes are complex.
And it all boils down to the incredible concentration of wealth that has taken place not only in this country but roughly in this country over the past 50 years.
Money and power have flowed to the top. And those not at the top have been left behind.
We have to do better.