Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

To the Editor:

If you who have not heard “Rich Men North of Richmond,” a song by Oliver Anthony, I recommend it. It is an anthem of a common man expressing his frustration and near-despair over the inattention of our political leaders to the Promise of America: equal opportunity.

My sole criticism of Anthony’s moving song is that he is blaming the wrong people. He calls out the politicians in Washington DC and, by extension, the states:

“These rich men north of Richmond
Lord knows they all just wanna have total control…
’Cause your dollar ain’t [!@#$] and it’s taxed to no end
’Cause of rich men north of Richmond.”

If only the “rich men north of Richmond” were the actual problem. Charlatans, grifters and authoritarians are in Congress only because we send them.

Some idolize an ex-president who is the subject of multiple civil and criminal, state and federal, indictments, and others who politically control what your children can read, study, learn, and whether a woman’s body belongs to her or to the state.

Anthony’s anguish mirrors the anxieties of so many in this country. President Biden proposed a “wealth tax” to assess higher taxes on the wealthy, who have made billions of dollars since 2008 and Covid, and who utilize so much of the infrastructure and other benefits of the tax dollars we all provide to help make their fortunes. Biden proposes tax incentives to reignite manufacturing jobs. Republicans in Congress are strongly opposed.

Republicans will renew Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Most opposed Biden’s plan to force Big Pharma to negotiate Medicare prices. They propose to reduce Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for those who need it to survive in a massively skewed economic system. Several Midwest red states legislatures are amending labor laws to allow 12-year-olds to work late into the night hosing down meat processing plants, or work in bars, to cure corporate labor shortages and let bosses pay lower wages. They defend it as “freedom.”

Anthony mis-characterized welfare recipients as 300-pound cookie-munching folks “milkin’ welfare.” Seventy percent of recipients are working people, men like him, and women, looking for the American Promise, struggling to stay in their homes and some failing, and trying to keep their kids alive in a country of increasing economic imbalance.
Oliver Anthony has said that his song doesn’t advocate for any particular political candidate, but against the system in Washington. His song should have been directed at us.

P.S. Martin, David Reimer’s tragic story of surgical sexual reassignment and his subsequent despair shined a light on how harmful it is to force someone, whatever their outward sex characteristics, to live as one gender when they feel they are another. The “Church Militant” article - you recommended - observed that transgender people feel the same way. It disputes your position that it’s a sinful choice or a delusion.

“Evil,” or the “absence of love,” comes in many forms. I thought I was clearly referring to choosing to protect ourselves from unwelcome facts and being willing to make others suffer to avoid our own discomfort. I was not speaking of cases where evil imposes isolation, carnage, destruction, and persecution of others as does Putin, for example. But recognize that some American red states have already adopted legislation to isolate, silence, and forbid recognition of the LBGTQ community.
If you would allow me more word count, I would happily explain every statement I make in full, but it will be repetitive. I hope you’ll allow it in this instance anyway.

Kelly Scoles,
Fillmore, Ca.