Kalah Allen Kalah Allen
It really, really sucks being a liberal these days. In fact, it makes being Republican look pretty good. They're apparently really rich--or convinced they're going to be--and are comfortably basking in both their election victory and moral righteousness. Meanwhile, we liberals live our lives in constant fear of incoming AlterNet newsletters, and trying diet fads and cleansing programs in an unconscious, pseudo-anorexic swipe at exerting a little bit of control over our lives. Is that all we can do?

No, it's not.

It may be late in the game, but Americans are increasingly breaking out of the "bigger, better, faster, more" mentality and paying attention to where their money goes. Those who can't afford to make big campaign donations or become oil barons in order to influence the political landscape are learning how to do so with small, daily decisions.

Pleasingly, shopping is the new activism, with consumer conscience playing a growing role in everything from groceries to underwear. While we can't undo the election(s), the deficit, the fear tactics, torture scandals, and heaps of dead people in Iraq, we can pick out a roll of recycled toilet paper and buy a pair of shoes from a local retailer.

And the growing interest in which companies contribute financially to the GOP, employ sweatshop labor, or otherwise irk thoughtful shoppers, has made politically friendly shopping easier and more affordable. Clothing design in Portland is increasingly on fire, and locally designed, made, and sold duds are attainable in a huge range of prices--not to mention our wealth of vintage and thrift options. And with the arrival of American Apparel, we can shop for basics that are sweatshop free, too. Not to get too Ward Churchill on you, but now is not the time to infuriate any more countries with our mad foreign policy skillz.

As a bonus, steering away from the cookie cutter merchandise at monolithic chain stores makes your home, appearance, and fridge a lot more interesting and appealing. So as you enjoy your uniquely chic outfit while sitting in your customized home, sipping a glass of organic Oregon wine, picture Bush in your mind's eye and say "Thanks, bitch. Couldn't have done it without ya."