The Passion of Martha Stewart - Lie may cost Stewart her freedom

Had the morning off from rehearsal, so I slept in and then made a nice breakfast. I flicked on the TV and there was Martha in Puerto Rico, toasting coconut, going to a mango farm, and hawking Puerto Rican rums.

I've seen some other coverage of this story, and one ABC News video stood out. It almost gleefully compared Martha's former life to shots of prison life - the industrialized food lines, the tiny cells, the basketball courts.

Well, it's a bad thing she's been convicted of doing, and she'll very likely serve prison time. But watching her program today made me realize something: Martha has a way of taking what she has and turning it around. Her business was all about making lemonade. There's absolutely no reason to believe that this event will change such a deep rooted part of her soul.

She's not going in for life, people. She's looking at 10 to 16 months. Most of her money-making potential has been stripped away, so she's looking for a career change. And for ten to sixteen, she'll be staring at the conditions of prison life in America. She'll be dealing every day with the other half of America, the ones who can't afford fresh coconut to toast. What will Martha make of all this raw material?

I don't think we're witnessing the end of Martha Stewart, but the midpoint. I believe we're witnessing the creation of a powerful advocate for prisoner's rights and other social ills in this country. With her talents for organization and communications, with her eye for detail, she's going to make one hell of a media-savvy American populist. And the prison time will only give her street cred and a motivation for justice that she's not going to be familar with.

She's got a few more steps of grief before she's close to accepting this possible new direction of her life, but I'm willing to bet that she gets there. This is Martha Stewart we're talking about, who was one of the most successful businesswomen ever. All the personal reasons for that success remain a part of her arsenal, and she's being given a new focus for that power and talent.

And it will be a good thing.