I’ve been on welfare in the past. I’m overweight , and I’ve had my share of little Debbie Cakes, and I’m not offended by Oliver Anthony, nor do I see him as being any harsher than Stephen before they stoned him to death. Fudge Rounds might mean more than you know.
I’ve lived quite a few lives under the sun. I used to be on welfare. I’ve stood in line 8 months pregnant for government cheese, so my sons could eat something. But the truth is I was working up until I couldn’t. I had toxemia with the youngest and pregnancy complications, but I was waiting tables and getting assistance until I could get off it, not milking the system and trying to stay on it. Many people on welfare eat better and healthier than you and I—but yes, many were raised on junk food and are ignorant of better choices.
I can remember sitting in the welfare department watching women come in dressed in designer clothing, brand-new cell phones, manicured nails, etc. I wondered why they were there. It didn’t take me long to hear stories when I inquired about how they could afford such and such. One woman told me that she lied to the government and acted like a single mom but lived with her boyfriend, who had a job back in the 90s, making over 20 an hour. She wanted to give me tips on how to get more “ fudge rounds.”
Most of the people I knew during that season of my life sold half their food stamps or allowed someone to use their card to buy groceries for half the price so they could use the money to pay their car insurance, phone, or electricity or buy drugs. How did they do that? The amount they received was more than their family could eat. We were not eating fudge rounds or potatoes and pasta. No, that’s what we were eating after getting off government assistance. I was never on it long. My next-door neighbors ate steaks. They were scared to go to work because they didn’t want to lose their food stamp cards, their Section 8 housing, and their checks.
But even Ruth had to gleam in the fields for her grain. We were never created not to be productive.
We were never created to live off the government. And when I lived in that area of town, fudge rounds were not the issue. The corner store sold liquor and lottery tickets, and the crime was so bad no businesses wanted to open in that area. The government likes to keep certain people from being free and having a purpose. They destroy them from the inside. Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying the man she’s living with or dating. Marriage helps stop poverty. Two incomes are better than one.
The Torah’s instruction, the first five books of the Bible, states that if a man does not work, he does not eat. The individual – as well as a poor person – is the first one responsible for his own financial situation. If the person is sick or elderly, then, yes, that person needs help, but where should the support come from? I believe in family, friends, and the community. And if the person isn’t sick or elderly, there are ways to help them stand on their feet by assisting them to get a job, a G.E.D., or learn a trade or go to college. Open your home and care for them until they can care for themselves.
The “fudge rounds” reinforce poverty and suppress the poor person’s motivation to take responsibility and advance on his own. And we get taxed to death to keep people from being free and finding their purposes.
Oliver Anthony has dealt with a brain injury, and he openly confessed he has mental issues and struggles with addiction after falling and cracking his skull at a factory in North Carolina.
We can judge him and pick apart his words and make him into a person who has no compassion for the obese— we can count him off as a redheaded redneck with little intelligence. We can judge him like we judge everyone we meet. Still, as a woman who has been on welfare and is currently obese, I was not offended, nor do I think he was talking about those dire situations where single mothers and widows need a helping hand, but pointing out those who milk the system, just as Joe and Hunter milk the system—those who are happy to eat fudge rounds and never work or get out of their situation. And yes, some are disabled or mentally ill and cannot work, but the government was never supposed to be those in poverty’s God. Welfare is not to be a crutch and source forever. We are supposed to care for orphans, widows, and people experiencing poverty, but people experiencing poverty need more than a system that’s crippling them and keeping them in bondage.
Oliver wrote this passage below on his Facebook wall. If we are going to judge him, at least judge him by his own words and not the media who is bashing him. Call me an idiot for liking this man but I do. His words seem genuine, and his last paragraph rings true in my spirit.
“It’s been difficult as I browse through the 50,000+ messages and emails I’ve received in the last week. The stories that have been shared paint a brutally honest picture. Suicide, addiction, unemployment, anxiety and depression, hopelessness, and the list goes on.
I’m sitting in such a weird place in my life right now. I never wanted to be a full-time musician, much less sit at the top of the iTunes charts. Draven from RadioWV and I filmed these tunes on my land with the hope that it may hit 300k views. I still don’t quite believe what has happened since we uploaded that. It’s just strange to me.
People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off 8 million dollar offers. I don’t want six tour buses, 15 tractor-trailers, and a jet. I don’t want to play stadium shows, and I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I wrote the music I wrote because I was suffering from mental health and depression. These songs have connected with millions of people on such a deep level because they’re being sung by someone feeling the words in the very moment they were being sung. No editing, no agent, no bullshit. Just some idiot and his guitar. The style of music that we should have never gotten away from in the first place.
So, that being said, I have never taken the time to tell you who I actually am. Here’s a formal introduction:
My legal name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford. My grandfather was Oliver Anthony, and “Oliver Anthony Music” is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised. Dirt floors, seven kids, hard times. At this point, I’ll gladly go by Oliver because everyone knows me as such. But my friends and family still call me Chris. You can decide for yourself, either is fine.
In 2010, I dropped out of high school at age 17. I have a GED from Spruce Pine, NC. I worked multiple plant jobs in Western NC, my last being at the paper mill in McDowell County. I worked the 3rd shift, six days a week, for $14.50 an hour in a living hell. In 2013, I had a bad fall at work and fractured my skull. It forced me to move back home to Virginia. Due to complications from the injury, it took me six months or so before I could work again.
From 2014 until just a few days ago, I’ve worked outside sales in the industrial manufacturing world. My job has taken me all over Virginia and into the Carolinas, getting to know tens of thousands of other blue-collar workers on job sites and in factories. I’ve spent all day, every day, for the last ten years hearing the same story. People are SO damn tired of being neglected, divided and manipulated.
In 2019, I paid $97,500 for the property and still owe about $60,000 on it. I am living in a 27′ camper with a tarp on the roof that I got off of Craigslist for $750.
There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a good musician. I’m not a very good person. I’ve spent the last five years struggling with mental health and using alcohol to drown it. I am sad to see the world in the state it’s in, with everyone fighting with each other. I have spent many nights feeling hopeless that the greatest country on Earth is quickly fading away.
That being said, I HATE the way the Internet has divided all of us. The Internet is a parasite that infects the minds of humans and has its way with them. Hours wasted, goals forgotten, loved ones sitting in houses with each other distracted all day by technology made by the hands of other poor souls in sweatshops in a foreign land.
When is enough enough? When are we going to fight for what is right again? MILLIONS have died protecting the liberties we have. Freedom of speech is such a precious gift. Never in world history has the world had the freedom it currently does. Don’t let them take it away from you.
Just like those once wandering in the desert, we have lost our way from God and have let false idols distract us and divide us. It’s a damn shame.”