Empty Bread and Empty Mouths – Talk About The Lack of Compassion

Talk About the Passion

“Empty bread, empty mouths combien reaction.
Empty bread, empty mouths talk about the passion.”

Actually, talk about the lack of compassion. Among all of these loud professions of faith while people still starve and need help, look how much passion has really occurred.

Yesterday’s report by the Congressional Budget Office concerning the Senate Republican Health Care Bill predicted that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured by the year 2016 if the version currently being floated replaces the Affordable Care Act. Quibble as much as you might about the veracity of the report; there does not seem to be any way that it is totally wrong.

For a president who prided himself on the mantra “Make America Great Again” and ran on a platform of reducing fiscal shortfalls, Donald Trump has fostered an environment in this country that is exacerbating what is the greatest deficit that really stands in making America “great” for more people – empathy. Bills such as the one he is championing now in the Senate is but one example of this.

R.E.M.’s fourth song from the album Murmur has been described as a song about hunger. While the meaning of the lyrics of a song released over 30 years ago may certainly be spun to fit a mold to help explain the current social and political terrain, “Talk About the Passion” resonates now more than ever – literally and metaphorically.

It is hard not to picture a religious frame around this song. It is the latter part of the twentieth century. Falwell has brought evangelism into the forefront with the Moral Majority. Presidential candidates are courting religious leaders. The Cold War is still defined with religious undertones. It is the South, and if you are in the state of Georgia, you are in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Lots of talk about piety and all the while ramping up our defense systems for “enemies” we can and cannot see.

Billy Crystal even has a famous character on Saturday Night Live who says, “It is better to look good than to feel good.”

“Talk About the Passion” seems to speak about a physical and moral deficit of its time. People were hungry. Racism and sexism were rampant. Discrimination on many levels was overtly and covertly practiced. We were about to enter the AIDS epidemic. But damn, we were holy!

Fast forward to 2017 and we see a nation that is ever more divisive along political and social lines and it would be foolish to say that those lines were not being defined somewhat by religious bodies.

However, nearly 20% of our nation’s children are “food poor.” That’s a nice way of saying that they are hungry.

Ramming this version of the Senate Health Bill through would knock off many from needed insurance because of cuts to Medicaid. That’s a not-so-nice way of saying people will be sick and more likely suffer.

Yet we have a president who is by all media accounts getting fatter in the belly and in the bank who has spokespeople saying things like,

“We don’t see them as cuts, it’s slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was… Well you keep calling them cuts, but we don’t see them as cuts. It’s slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was. Obamacare expanded the pool of Medicaid recipients beyond its original intentions … When you get rid of these penalties, these taxes, when you stop the insurer from leaving and just hemorrhaging out of these exchanges…” – Kellyanne Conway to George Stephanopoulos about “cuts” to Medicaid on June 25th.

That’s just empty prayers that will cause more empty mouths because one sickness to a working family can literally cripple the financially and bankrupt them.

And this lack of empathy on the part of the government in order to give tax breaks to a few wealthy individuals who profit from the rest shows moral bankruptcy.

“Talk about the passion”

Again, it is hard to crawl inside the mind of a poet/songwriter and glean exactly what is meant by words and phrases of songs. Maybe the verse “Not everyone can carry the weight of the world” was meant to say that the world’s ills are too much for any human and that no matter what prayers are hurled (whether for show or sincerely), there will always be those who suffer.

Or it may mean that some people need more help in their carrying the weight of their parts of the world than others: the young, the sick, the hungry.

Interestingly enough, the video for “Talk About the Passion” ends with a clip of a massive warship on screen with the words “In 1987, the cost of one destroyer-class warship was 910 million dollars.”

We have seen massive cuts to the budgets for education, the EPA, CDC, and now possibly Medicaid to help finance tax breaks for the wealthy and for defense spending and for a wall and for a ban.

“Combien de temps”

So, how long? How long does this last?

Depends on how we deal with our empathy deficit.

 

“Talk About The Passion”

Empty bread, empty mouths, combien reaction
Empty bread, empty mouths, talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world

Talk about the passion, talk about the passion

Empty bread, empty mouths, combien reaction
Empty bread, empty mouths, talk about the passion
Combien, combien, combien de temps

Talk about the passion, talk about the passion

Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Combien, combien, combien de temps

Talk about the passion, talk about the passion
Talk about the passion, talk about the passion
Talk about the passion, talk about the passion

 

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