Sweet Victory

To everything there is a season, and the last few weeks have been a season of winning — embodied most clearly, of course, in the national elections. I’m proud of progressives everywhere, but I’m particularly impressed with Californians, many of whom not only got out and voted personally, but also made extraordinary extra efforts this election. It wasn’t just our nearly 40,000 phone calls as part of MoveOn.org’s national mobilization; it was also people like Susan Glaser, who rented busses to ferry residents of her assisted living facility to the polls. And Karin Yehling, who carved time out of a seven-hour workday of client appointments to travel 35 minutes to her polling place. And our Senior Editor Eliza Thomas who, after finding herself inexplicably dropped from the list at her usual polling place, was forced to trudge back and forth between locations before resigning herself to a provisional ballot. These are just a few of the thousands of small stories that carried us to victory.

Despite the serious glitches with electronic machines throughout the country, despite the many, many voters who waited long hours to fulfill their civic responsibility — we did it! We made democracy work and I’m proud of us. Our reward will be a new direction for our country, but please don’t think you can take a vacation now. Celebrate? Exuberantly! But our new representatives are going to be looking to us to help guide their adjusted course of action, so the more we stay involved, the larger our success will be. And with a Bush-supporter continuing at the helm in California, there’s no time for slacking.

This month one of our features takes a closer look at the shadow side of the human psyche (pg. 60). The outcome of last month’s election feels very much like a public reckoning of the former majority’s unchecked shadow side, as well as the beginning of the end of the former power structure. We all know that “power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We, the people, are also a branch of our government, and when the ruling party became too enamored of its invincibility, we stepped in. We need to continue to hold accountable our representatives from all parties.

Not all recent triumphs have been political. For 16 years, the Environmental Media Association has been holding its own version of the Oscars with awards for media artists and productions furthering eco-awareness. This year’s Nov. 8 event was a giant leap forward with live coverage by E! Entertainment, and ooh la la, the stars came out. Stepping elegantly from, in many cases, hybrid cars that were granted special access, such luminaries as Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Sex and the City’s Kristen Davis, comedian David Spade, David Carradine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Daryl Hannah, Graham Nash of CS&N and oh so many more sashayed down the green carpet. Toyota was once again the major sponsor, and their Chief Environmental Advisor, Diane Ogilvie, proudly announced that Toyota is adding 11 more hybrids to its roster by 2010. If you’re wondering how much of a difference hybrids can make, Ogilvie assured us that this brand alone has saved 195 million gallons of fuel and spared the atmosphere more than three billion pounds of CO2. That’s enough to make us all breathe a sigh of relief.

Anthony Kiedis, lead singer for the Chili Peppers, said, “I don’t think anybody should get an award for being good to the environment. It’s like being nice to your mother or having sex with your girlfriend.” Yes and no. I’m paying extra for food without additives and for clean water, so I’m thrilled that EMA honors these media eco-trendsetters, because we are all winners when they lend their considerable public clout to issues of environmental awareness.

If you’re flying over the holidays, you may want to focus more on not being a loser. Travel restrictions have swollen the amount of checked airline luggage, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports a record number of bags lost or delayed. August, the last big travel month, averaged 14,089 lost bags per day, so either cram those gifts for grandma into a carry-on or, for $25, plant a tree in her name via treepeople.org or 818.753.TREE.

Wishing all of you a peaceful and joyous holiday, from all of us.

From my heart,
Abigail Lewis

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