Thursday, April 16, 2009

The American Idol Analogy

The anti-tax grassroots protests ("tea parties" if you will) held yesterday in response to President Obama's tax and stimulus policies elicited this comment from a childhood friend of mine today on Facebook:

"... there will always be a segment of the population that needs our tax dollars to assist them in escaping from poverty, mental illness, addiction, etc. (not enabling, but educating). I believe it requires compassion to provide an equal playing ground whereby those with these issues have opportunity and are assured their right to pursue happiness and freedom..."

I narrowed down my friend's comment without changing the crux of its contents. As I thought more about her comment this afternoon, an analogy came to mind coming off the heels of a historical American Idol episode. I hate to compare anything, really, to American Idol, but I feel it is a good portrayal of the shared view I have with my friend.

As we all know, on American Idol, normal every day people are given a chance at stardom... to reach their seemingly unreachable dreams. Most contestants would never, ever have the financial backing, networking ability or show-business-sense to do it on their own. They have essentially been given a gift to prove whether or not they are worthy of being THE American Idol. And, even though only one can be THE Idol, many more will finish the season with record deals and an American tour that will catapult them to celebrity status.

The contestants, for the most part, live average lives... some as students. Others as bartenders. Some on the oil fields and some in automobile garages. Some are single moms. Others have lost their spouses. Again, my point is that they certainly would never be able to make it big in Hollywood or realize their dreams without the gift of American Idol.

Last night, the contestant with the lowest amount of votes was announced. He should have been sent packing. However, the judges saved him, because they had faith in him and his abilities as an artist. Another gift. They believed that even though he received the lowest amount of votes, he was worthy of the gift. He was given a second chance. I would imagine that the other contestants were secretly hoping the gift would have been saved for them.

So it is with many people that surround each of us every day. Sometimes people just need accessibility to the gifts that we have in America... compassion... financial assistance for affordable, quality medical care... sensible and realistic education on things like contraception... quality schools for all children... to succeed in their world.

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