What I learned from Adam Lambert

16 06 2009

I’m always amazed at how our very human tendency to judge keeps us from learning and growing.  Case in point:  Adam Lambert.  For days, my husband has been on my ass about reading the Rolling Stone cover story in which runner-up American Idol Lambert comes out. Now, I can’t stand American Idol (glorified karaoke just isn’t my thing) and I’ve read more than my fair share of “Yup, I’m gay” cover stories. So, I judged…and I resisted.

Now, you can’t resist a Bulgarian husband for very long, so last night, I gave in and read the story.  Most of it was what you’d expect, but one line–one line–jumped out at me as a great gift for our times.  Lambert was describing an “epiphany” he had at Burning Man, a moment where he realized “…we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen.”

To Lambert, that line meant he should audition for American Idol.  For the rest of us, it suggests a refreshingly clear lens with which to view the challenges we face today–individually and collectively.  An alternative to the very submissive way Americans view just about everything:

  • “Let me hire a trainer to get me in shape” OR “Let me take a pill to lower my cholesterol”
  • “Let me turn on the TV so Oprah can tell me how to be who I really am” OR, better yet, “Let me turn on the TV so it can live reality for me!”
  • “Let me bitch about how corrupt the Massachusetts legislature is” OR “Let me demand the President and Congress give me my rights”.

Well, that’s one way to live.  Wait for others to make something happen.  No, not wait, somehow buy into the illusion that you simply can’t have what you want until others give it to you.

As a friend of mine likes to say, that’s just AFU.

You want to get in shape?  Get your ass in gear and go to the gym on your own.  They’re not that tough to figure out and, really, do you need to pay someone to cut your food for you?  And, while you’re at it, give that money you pay your trainer to a non-profit that serves people who have real problems.

You have a dream?  Live it. Period.  Billions–yes billions– of people have lived their dreams just fine without Oprah, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and the like.  Maybe it’s time to stop padding their dreams and start creating our own.

And, finally, frustrated with the political system (as I most certainly am).  Easy.  DEFEAT–or at least give a credible THREAT to defeat–those who are pissing you off (even Massachusetts has stopped screwing around with corruption at the voting box).  Mad that Beacon Hill won’t pass true ethics reform?  Easy.  Rally opposition–not Republican, but Democrat and unenrolled opposition in the Speaker and Senate President’s home districts.  The smell of defeat to a politician is like a whiff of garlic to a vampire.  It gets their attention.  Pissed about gay marriage and Obama?  Easy.  Organize in Pennsylvania and Ohio–two states he MUST win in order to be re-elected.  Show him that we’re exercising our power to (potentially) defeat him and I just bet he’ll do more than “file” legislation.

We still live in a democracy.  Unfortunately, many of us have been willing to cede the power that keeps a democracy alive.

As Adam Lambert–that most glam man–reminded us, we have the power to change that.

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