Recently a song came out entitled, “Rich men north of Richmond”. It struck a nerve with me and many others with tens of millions of views across the country, the writer and singer is a man who was raised in Appalachia. He did not finish high school but is being hailed as a musical genius who writes and sings about the ordinary man with some saying it is on the level of Hank Williams. In a video shared to his YouTube page a day before the song was released he describes living the life he sings about during the first verse. That helped lead to mental health issues and an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. In July 2023, he says he promised God he’d get sober and follow his dreams. About 30 days later, he was trending to have the No. 1 country song in America.
Ok Oliver Anthony uses some language that you will not hear in church on Sunday in this song. Fair warning it is written for the ordinary man in the street and in language they use. If this is offensive then don’t read it or tune in.
For the rest listen to the song and read the lyrics The “rich men” described in the “Rich Men North of Richmond” lyrics are presumably politicians living in Washington, D.C. (100 miles north via I-95). Before the second verse, he speaks in vague terms about working hard for little pay, but then in a stunning twist, zooms in on child trafficking, welfare, and obesity.
The Lyrics to Oliver Anthony’s ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ are as follows:
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.
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.
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 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.
I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere / 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 / Young men are puttin’ themselves six feet in the ground / ‘Cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin’ them down.
I’ve listened to the song several times over the past few days and can almost feel the pain this young man has endured. Like most people in the United States, he is sick of politicians who seem to want power and money and nothing else. Politicians are the least liked group of people in all polls.
I once gave my testimony to about 15,000 people in a big beautiful church. One of the things I hit on was why I despised Christians and God when I was living on the street. Not one person at that point in my life had ever told me they loved me – Not once! The pastor was wrapping up the service and solemnly said isn’t it a shame that not one Christian had ever reached out to me when I was downtrodden, that no one ever told me they loved me. but as soon as I became a millionaire everyone wanted to be my new best friend, especially bankers and politicians.
I have been hungry and slept on the street and the side of the road because I had nowhere to go. I had mental problems due to being abused since early childhood. I didn’t have nice clean clothes, a haircut, or transportation and obtaining a job was all but impossible. The pastor asked what would have happened if someone had reached out to me and given me a helping hand. I’ve often wondered how far I might have gone had I been afforded the same opportunities as my children and grandchildren.
God abhors the rich men north of Richmond who care nothing for ordinary folks aside from having their votes so they can obtain the power and money for which they lust. I know this from the Bible. Jesus did not tell us just to love those of equal social and financial stature, He told us to love our neighbor with no qualifier. I know I can do better, can you?
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”