Lady Gaga may have been vague last week about why she wore a meat dress to the VMAs. But her intentions surrounding today's rally in Portland, Maine -- to protest the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward gay and lesbian servicemembers -- are crystal clear.
Lots of celebrities who profess to support this or that cause are content to simply throw money at the problem. But Gaga's approach to activism is much more hands-on: In addition to taking soldiers discharged under the discriminatory policy as escorts to the VMAs and speaking at the last-minute rally in Maine at 4 p.m. ET this afternoon, Gaga's begging her fans to contact their senators in order to urge their support for ending DADT.
In effect, she's using her high-profile status and celebrity to call to action her enormous fan-base and bring awareness to this important issue.
And guess what? It's totally working.
And why shouldn't it? After all, the pop star has more than 6.3 million followers on Twitter (that's 1 million more than the President!) and more than 18 million fans on Facebook. If nothing else, Gaga has tremendous reach -- and she knows how to use it to her advantage.
Just look at what happened after her VMA appearance: Trevor Thomas, a spokesperson for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the pro-repeal group that is organizing the rally, said its website numbers have skyrocketed ever since -- up by 91.93 percent!
The goal of having her speak at the rally is to convince GOP senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to vote with Democrats to help break a filibuster (which is aimed at killing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal effort for the year). Thomas explained:
“We know that Lady Gaga can move young people ... so this is an unprecedented opportunity to reach people all across the country and drive calls to the Senate switchboard."
Lady Gaga isn't without her critics, of course, who complain constantly about everything from her controversial fashion choices to her provocative videos. Say what you want about her music and her politics, but in this instance isn't she doing exactly what we're always asking our celebrities to do -- which is using their fame for something other than to promote themselves?