In a deeply fractured and divided America, we need to find hope for the future of the country at every opportunity, and something as simple as a YouTube reaction video can be such a glimmer of light in dark times.
Last week, seemingly out of nowhere, the song “Rich Men North of Richmond” blew up, a viral sensation from Oliver Anthony, a former factory worker and alcoholic who found redemption in Christ from his addiction and despair.
The blue-collar anthem of an increasingly marginalized and alienated American working class had just been born.
The bluegrass song crosses ethnic and political lines and resonates with anyone who has ever struggled to make ends meet. One only has to visit YouTube — where the song has garnered 15 million views in just seven days — to read appreciative comments from listeners in Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Russia, Asia and every state of the union.
It is no wonder, then, that a group of black music reviewers on the YouTube channel CartierFamily found so much in common with a red-bearded redneck from rural Virginia.
“He spoke facts on that thing,” one of the reviewers said after listening to “Rich Men North of Richmond” for the first time.
WARNING: The following video contains language that some viewers will find offensive.
This moment is rare in our culture today.
People of all backgrounds are acknowledging their unity — not an artificial unity created by globalists, and not that true unity of faith for which we yet strive, but the simple unity of those who toil for their daily bread and can never seem to catch a break.
The song’s lyrics get to the heart of the matter perfectly:
“I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day
Overtime hours for bulls*** pay
So I can sit out here and waste my life away
Drag back home and drown my troubles away”
Anyone who has worked long hours in a factory, on a construction site, on a farm or even at the office can feel these words in his gut.
The chorus is no less profound:
“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 s*** and it’s taxed to no end
‘Cause of rich men north of Richmond”
Everyone in working-class America recognizes the real threat to their prosperity and liberty presented by a malevolent elite, both in big corporations and in the government, looking to censor and control every aspect of their lives while robbing them of what little value their money already had.
The elites can claim all they want that they’re doing it for the betterment of the world, but average people know better — they know it’s a scam for power and money.
The second verse contains what some pundits have claimed is a “right-wing” complaint, but that is a lie; it really is just a working man’s complaint, plain and simple:
“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”
No one who busts his butt all day likes the idea that his tax dollars are going to people who can’t work because they eat too much junk food. You don’t need to be a right-winger to see how that would anger anyone who has enough drive to get himself to work every morning only to just scrape by.
As seen in the CartierFamily reaction video, Americans both left and right, black and white have gotten behind this message. However, like every other topic in our culture, division has already started to creep in, as seen in a video released by The Hill yesterday.
Regardless of the battle lines being drawn over something that need not be political, we should stop to consider this brief acknowledgment of each other’s humanity.
For a moment, we saw each other once again as Americans. For a few short days, we were all just normal people who work hard and expect others to do the same. Farmers, waitresses, miners, janitors, bartenders, ranchers, rail workers and burger flippers, all united in their common humanity.
So, I say, let’s enjoy this moment while it’s here, because if there’s one thing we should all know by now, it’s this:
It won’t be here much longer.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.