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Stateside with Rosalea: VE Day

Stateside with Rosalea: VE Day

By Rosalea Barker

Good morning, good morning, good morning! Well, possums, I hope you don't mind if I write to you every day - sharing all the endearing little details of life Stateside. Of course, I don't exactly live in a typical US town - although it's probably a fairly typical US university town and fairly typical of California. Oh, OK, OK, even those hippie whackos across the Bay in San Francisco call it Bezerkeley, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Why, just yesterday at work I noticed we now have our very own helicopter protecting the skies above us. It was pretty annoying at first, but now that thwok, thwok, thwok is sort of like Linus' security blanket only louder.

It's important to do sensible things, like keeping a change of clothes at the office. Chemical and biological agents accumulate in clothing, so if you're outside when a device containing those things goes off, you need to wash down and change clothes immediately. I'll also be taking my emergency kit to the office today - with water and food and toilet paper. I've been meaning to do that since I first arrived here and learned - to my astonishment, since this is earthquake country - that workplaces don't take any responsibility for their employees' well-being by having disaster drills and encouraging them to have their own emergency preparedness kit. Something you folks down under take for granted!

I'm not being facetious. The only antidote to the kind of vague terror that Bush is now ten times more successful at inducing as the 911 bombers were, is to do things that give you a sense of safety without tipping over into paranoia and scapegoating. Ignore that elderly gentleman on his soapbox on Telegraph Ave yesterday, monotonously repeating the word "Armageddon". Sure, he looked disquietingly like a nuclear scientist, but he's just a part of the street theatre. Feel sorry instead for all those poor grunts who've been dragged away from their small town homes and the planting and milking to test out gadgets someone has gotten millions of dollars' worth of military research grants to produce. Better hope they didn't inflate the results, in the hope of getting more millions of dollars.

Frankly, I have no time for people who say this is all Bush's fault and that he stole the election and so on. It's the fault of the prevalent complacency about things electoral that let this democracy be bought to the point where cartels and family cronies run the country. At least in Africa and South America the population rebels against it. Here, they just sigh and turn to another channel. I don't want to see revolution and blood in the streets - was it Winston Churchill who said that the only cure for a bad democracy is more democracy? Let's put our minds to that.

Ah, the sun is up and that big old moon that was shining through the redwoods into my kitchen has set. Tomorrow is the vernal equinox - VE day! Mustn't forget the can opener.

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