Let’s Talk “Rich Men North of Richmond” by Oliver Anthony Music. The singer songwriter Christopher Anthony was until recently an unknown ordinary guy. Then something happened. His song hit Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. And what is amazing about that is that he is the FIRST artist to ever hit Number 1 without ever having ANY other song EVER on the Billboard Chart EVER before.
I watched a video of him at a park or fairgrounds where he said, “Just 3 weeks ago, I played here to only 20 people…” the grounds were packed three weeks later. As a musician, he isn’t untalented, but he’s not that good. As a songwriter, he was in some ways speaking from experience – his own and that of the blue-collar workers he’s met as he traveled “all over Virginia and into the Carolinas.” (Foley)
Many people have latched onto one aspect or another of the song, either to embrace or reject it whole cloth, but maybe we should dig a bit deeper into all the lyrics of this “controversial song.”
I've been sellin' my soul, workin' all day Overtime hours for bullshit pay So I can sit out here and waste my life away Drag back home and drown my troubles away
How many of us feel as though we are wasting our lives? How many of us are, perhaps for the first time, looking up from the mundane and wondering, “Is this all there is? Working for someone else’s profits, trying to survive paycheck to paycheck?” I think many people do choose to numb the thoughts as an escape from them through alcohol. “Drinks after work” isn’t just for miners and factory workers, is it?
This isn’t just about economics, taxes, and standard of living – or just about wasting your life away, though.
It's a damn shame what the world's gotten to For people like me and people like you Wish I could just wake up and it not be true But it is, oh, it is
This is where the song started resonating with me. Yes, I feel as though my life has largely been wasted. And yes, I am now working to change that, but I cannot get around the fact that “It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to.”
Three and a half years ago, I realized we were in a place there was probably no coming back from. Back in 2020, I kept thinking I would wake up and it would have been just a nightmare. That my examples of government overreach would be moot by the time I wrote about them. But that’s not what happened.
In fact, people value freedom even less now. But many are not conscious of that. They think we’ve gotten back to some semblance of “normal”. Politicians are treating us just the same. Campaigns are being run just the same. The media speaks to us just the same. But nothing is the same.
Livin' in the new world With an old soul These rich men north of Richmond Lord knows they all just wanna have total control Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do
And this is the point in the song where the message hits home for me, personally. The “rich men north of Richmond” are the politicians and administrative bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. And yes, they want to have total, repeat total control.
They have not kept it a secret that they want to nationalize policies, define virtue, dictate truth, censor voices that disagree, track people’s money and health and location. And he is talking about ALL OF THEM, not just the President (who is a Democrat) or the House (which is led by Republicans).
He has articulated to millions of people with the lyrics of this song the very thing I have been saying for years, decades, to little effect: There are indeed two classes of people: The (political) elites and the rest of us.
And they don't think you know, but I know that you do 'Cause your dollar ain't shit and it's taxed to no end 'Cause of rich men north of Richmond
But the words almost do a hiccup for me here: We know they want total control because of inflation and taxes? This seems unlikely to me, yet from the beginning of the song we get a similar sentiment.
No one likes being taxed. No one likes feeling as though all their work goes unrewarded. No one likes to believe they are wasting their life in a job they have no passion for, especially after the government comes in, taxes it – and instead of putting the money toward your own Social Security and Unemployment, they give it away to people who did nothing for it – at least that’s what I get out of this bit:
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
We have a homelessness crisis. We even have veterans with no support living in the streets. We have people selling their bodies to make ends meet. We even have “starving artists” who don’t take handouts from anyone while entire families have lived off the taxpayers for generations.
This is a traditional “conservative” or “Republican” argument – yet
I wish politicians would look out for miners
Blue collar workers are traditionally “Democrat” – and in this mixed up verse, we find the conundrum. The government is playing both sides. Liberal or progressive policies now seek to put miners out of business and vilify them. The unions that support liberal and progressive candidates no longer represent the workers within them – and policies coming out of D.C. have also marginalized the blue collar worker from both sides of the aisle.
Anthony claims he realized that both parties were the same because the Democrats were always “anti-war” and the Republicans were “pro-war” – but then all of them are on board when it comes to the new war in Europe.
And not just minors on an island somewhere
He does appear to also believe that the elites are connected in some way to Epstein. Or maybe he is all-in on the idea that there is an elite pedophile ring. Either way, it is obvious that this isn’t just about inflation and taxes. It is about hypocrisy and corruption – and he obvioulsy recognizes the power they want over “the rest of us.”
He also notices the brokenness of this “new normal” we are living in.
Young men are puttin' themselves six feet in the ground 'Cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin' them down
Is he referencing the fact that suicide rates have risen for young people? Or the health crisis? Or the violence crisis? Or the ubiquitous anti-male messaging?
It was from his interview, however, that I can see he probably truly has connected with the real “silent majority,” when he said: “People are so damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.”
Isn’t that where we are today? Our elected officials don’t represent us. The messaging is intended to divide us and create suspicion and hostility. And all that is used in conjunction with fear to manipulate our behavior.
Only a government with complete knowledge of every single person can claim to know better than we do what will make us happy, so they seek to know everything about us. But once they know what we think and can tell us what will make us happy, we have lost all freedom.
And of course, that is where I am going to end it. They know that we know. But they also believe that there is nothing we can do about it.
Anthony’s song went viral because it resonated with almost every American – against the ruling class. This is not about a candidate or party. This should be about the solidarity of “the rest of us.”
If I could give one admonition, stop aligning yourself with a team that doesn’t know or care you exist as one of their fans, and instead come together in solidarity to protect individual liberty.
And as Anthony states on his website: “We have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us.” We are no longer a religious and moral people. And the government our founders gave us was unfit for anything other.
What do you think? Why did this mediocre musician go viral?