The first cut, "We Take Care of Our Own," is where I set out the questions that I'm going to try to answer. The song's chorus is posed as a challenge and a question. Do we take care of our own? What happened to that social contract? Where did that go over the past 30 years? How has it been eroded so terribly? And how is it that the outrage about that erosion is just beginning to be voiced right now? I've written about this stuff for those 30 years, from Darkness on the Edge of Town to The Ghost of Tom Joad through to today. . . .
So these are issues and things that occur over and over again in history and land on the backs of the same people. In my music--if it has a purpose beyond dancing and fun and vacuuming your floor to it--I always try to gauge the distance between American reality and the American dream. The mantra that I go into in the last verse of "We Take Care of Our Own"--"Where are the eyes, where are the hearts?"--it's really: Where are those things now, what happened to those things over the past 30 years? What happened to the social fabric of the world that we're living in? What's the price that people pay for it on a daily basis?" Which is something that I lived with intensely as a child, and is probably the prime motivation for the subjects I've written about since I was very, very young. . . .
You cannot have a social contract with the enormous income disparity--you're gong to slice the country down the middle. Without jobs, without helping folks with foreclosures, without regulating the banks, without some sort of tax reform. . . .Without addressing those issues in some way, I don't think the country is going to hold together. . . .at the end of the day, you can't have a society and you can't have a civilization without a reasonable amount of economic fairness, full employment, purpose and civic responsibility. (page 41)