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Strother said Anthony’s willingness to speak up and not let anyone define the song took guts: “That is what we lack in this country, someone willing to speak in anger at both sides if necessary. I applaud this guy for stepping forward and saying, ‘You’re all wrong.’ That took some courage.”

Strother said he personally might not agree with all of Anthony’s lyrics, but “What I do know is that he is speaking for a lot of people.”

Strother explains that folk singers like Prine back in the day didn’t have MSNBC and Fox, or silos on the internet where we feed each other our beliefs.

“And thank goodness for that, no one had to say what their politics were because often they were apolitical, they just felt something and they wrote and sang about it.”

Paul Sracic, a political science professor at Youngstown State University who is an expert in American populism, wasn’t surprised either about Anthony not cleaving to either party.

“We put these sort of templates on people,” Sracic said. “He’s got the Southern accent, so we think, oh, Southern conservative. But the reality is most people don’t spend their life in politics. This is not their lifeblood.”

Most people are also not “very online” and living their lives out on social media, “They’re just trying to live their best life. And they don’t see the United States being on the right track. They don’t see things going the way they should go,” he said.

All you have to do is listen to Anthony’s lyrics to understand that; it is pretty scattered and all over the place, the way most people think when they try to describe both political parties.

Sracic said the song is at its core about disconnection, “It’s the two Americas, whether John Edwards talks about it or J.D. Vance talks about it, and it’s not political,” he explained.

Sracic said when Vance talked about the people in his book “Hillbilly Elegy,” they weren’t necessarily Republicans.

“They saw something was wrong and they weren’t political at all,” he said. “They weren’t tied to it. So we want to put our template on everybody, but that template, I think, doesn’t really fit. People are just trying to figure out how to fix what’s wrong. And they’re screaming out that something’s wrong.”

And that is what “Rich Men North of Richmond” was all about.

Salena Zito is a CNN political analyst, and a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www. COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

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