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It began after the election in November, in which I was painfully aware that the Good Ole’ Boys’ club still exists, no matter how much progress America made over the past eight years. When an experienced female candidate lost (the electoral vote) to a pussy-grabbing pseudo celebrity, it gave me the feeling that as a woman, I could never possibly surpass a man. Especially a rich man.

Maybe I was a little sensitive. After all, I am now a cliche. Married over twenty years, a stay at home mom, watching my ex build his career while I changed diapers and taught kids how to read. I was the perfect, homeschooling Christian mom, who filled the house with laughter, while trying to shield the kids from the harsh biblical legalism of my ex.

Working outside the home could never happen. My ex would tell me, “This is your job! Why can’t you be happy at home?”

It was my job — a tough job — a job I loved, but there was no paycheck, nothing to write on my CV, no retirement plan or benefits.

Now when I apply for entry-level positions, I am told they’re looking for recent college grads. When I apply for managment level positions, I am told I have no experience. Both are true. There is no category for me.

At the time, I felt I was doing the right thing by staying home with the kids. I feel in some way, it inspired their creativity. It taught them to dream.

I only wish I had taken more time to build a career for myself.

As a woman, it’s easy to slide into the system, thinking you’re smart enough to manipulate it; or that your spouse would NEVER victimize you. My ex often told me how he appreciated my independence. But now I think it was a conquest for him. Like a modern day Grandcourt wooing Gwendolen in order to break her spirit as one would break a horse. I honestly had thought things had changed since George Eliot’s time. For god’s sake, she adopted a man’s name in order to be taken seriously as a writer.

Haven’t we progressed since the Victorian age?

I think about the advice my lawyer gave me when I wanted to go to court smack dab in the middle of the American bible belt. She told me, “I know the judge in that county. He’s a real dick.”

So, I let the divorce run its course in Germany instead, where the judge doesn’t hurl a bible at woman wanting to divorce her mentally abusive husband.

I am so painfully aware of being caught in this American man-opoly that blisters break out on my face whenever I have to talk to my ex. His text messages give me nightmares.

I, a thinking, educated woman (with a liberal arts degree, no less), somehow wandered into this system of dependence, buying into the message that it was “God’s plan.”

The trauma, the mental abuse, the spiritual abuse — it was all part of the glossy package that hid the dark innards of this Western Christian Cult-ure.

While I have seen Christian couples who treat each other as equals, the sad truth that makes my heart sick is many women slide their necks thoughtlessly into the noose of the Good Ole’ Boys’ club. It is so normal in America, so accepted. So promoted.

This ultra-conservative Western Christian Cult-ure is far more dangerous than anything a refugee might bring to America. It is the foundation upon which the Good Ole’ Boys’ club is built.

People are outraged when atrocities come to light from other countries: when a teenage girl is thrown from a tower because she was raped; when a man has his head chopped off for being in love with another man. We say, “My god, it’s barbaric!”

But what about the Land of the Free, where a woman cannot get a fair settlement because of a lone judge’s religious background; or where a person of color is randomly beaten by authorities. What about a country in which a rich, young white man can rape a woman, and it is seen as a “bad decision” rather than a crime.

There are so many things I love about America: its independence, its ingenuity, its creativity; but the underlying theme is that it is still a Good Ole’ Boys’ club.

That is what the election brought to light. Millions of people just sold themselves into a very old type of slavery.

However, as sickening as the state of our world seems, I have found hope.

You might expect me to say, “I have hope in our children: for the future generations….”

Yes.

And no.

I have hope in myself.

You see, I’m not too old to make a difference. I can use anything within my power to make a change. If it means writing a blog five people will read, then it’s five more minds thinking about these things. If it means I call out inequality when I see it, then maybe one person will hear it and decide to help me build a new type of club.

Yes, my kids can join this too. They have more time ahead of them to travel and experience the world; they will learn to not just look at their own property lines, but they can learn how a single election has the potential to influence the world, for better or worse.

They can vote. Educatedly. Compassionately. Logically.

They can write stories, create films, build relationships that inspire equality.

If we each use our time on this earth wisely, we can change the Good Ole’ Boys’ club. Not by waiting for the old members to die out (though that thought is appealing); but by using our talents to open people’s eyes to the complexities of the world. By influencing our kids, parents and grandparents to look further than Sea to Shining Sea.

It’s time to start building a new kind of club.

Who’s with me?

Written by

American expat in Germany, formerly conservative homeschool mom now navigating widowhood; runner, writer, Crossfitter, trying to figure **it out

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