The meaning here is pretty implicit. It’s, apparently, about a real-life coal miner from West Virginia called Sam Hall, who was facing a lot of discrimination at work because he was gay.
It’s a really nice bringing together of different worlds musically, a very beautiful way and lyrically very frank manner. I always get goosebumps when I listen to it. So beautiful that it encourages you to listen to other people.
In the US, it sometimes seems as if people are hunkered down in their corners and set in their own ways whatever leanings they have. But in this song the singer, the protagonist, is not put in a corner – he’s telling his story, which is difficult but he’s still open enough to listen and welcome the other side however wrong they were.
The great tragedy of Obama was that there were certain politicians who vowed not to listen and vowed to oppose the president – it frustrated their base to the point they ended up voting for someone who wasn’t a politician at all because they no longer trust politicians. A danger is that people who feel angered by the new administration’s actions will react with as much blindness and vitriol as those that they are pointing the finger at rather than doing what this song suggests by its very existence: listen to each other.