U.S. Politics From a Distance

As America continues to rejoice in election of Barack Obama -- while gay Californians lament the passing of Prop. 8 -- overseas, political activists look on from a distance. Zachery Scott has watched the drama following Election Day unfold as he serves in the Peace Corps in Mozambique.

BY Zachery Scott

November 28 2008 1:00 AM ET

It had been a
year since I started serving as a health volunteer in the
Peace Corps in Mozambique. With the election approaching,
everyone was in a tizzy with anticipation to see
history made and the United States taken in a new
direction. On the evening of November 4, we gathered up the
volunteers who lived nearby and held a party at the house of
an expat friend. There we could watch the results be
announced by CNN on her satellite television almost as
if we were back in the States. I, along with millions
of others overseas, stayed up till a ridiculous hour
(3 a.m. for our group) to watch the election results come in
and celebrate as Barack Obama was named our next
president.

November 5, the
e-mails started. Since I get Internet access only about
once a week and it's my main way of communicating with
friends and family back home, I was a little surprised
to find a barrage of e-mails ranging from exuberant to
absolutely furious.

Despite the
elation of my fellow volunteers and myself over the
presidential and congressional results, the passage of
Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment, in
California seemed to loom over our other victories
like a dark cloud blocking the sun. Everyone I spoke to was
downright flabbergasted that a state like California could
pass such a dreadful law by popular vote. When it came
out that African-Americans and Hispanics, both of whom
had enjoyed LGBT support in the past, had turned out
in large numbers to vote against marriage equality, that
seemed to be the last straw.

From the other
side of the world, I began to see my friends stand up and
take notice of the political fights that were happening
around them. Most people I knew back in Los Angeles
had always been out and proud, but they hadn't always
politically active. This was a wake-up call to everyone
that progress still requires participation.

So the e-mails
began. I got chain letters protesting the Mormon Church
and questioning its tax-exempt status; I got personal
commentaries on people’s disappointment and
anger; and I got Evites to protest parties and rallies
around the city. The gays were really getting their shit
together! 

Tags: Politics

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