No Exit

No Exit

Last night, we elected a flagrant misogynist to be the 45th president of the United States. White women voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 53 to 43 percent. Trump also won among men generally. So far, the stock market has given a big shrug, signaling that business will carry on as usual.

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I am an optimist. My head tells me that there must be some good in this, some ability to create positive energy out of what feels like a kick to the gut. Maybe women can organize and stand up for our financial self-interest instead of relying on elected representatives to fight our fight.

And fight we must because there is no easy escape route from the direction our country veered last night. Like characters in the Jean Paul Sartre play, No Exit, we Americans are here together and cannot parachute out of our predicament. Our only path forward is to come to understand each other and work out our differences. Otherwise, per Sartre, we will be forever doomed to a self-created and contained hell on earth.

So let’s come together and fight for a retirement system that offers equal rewards for men and women, not just in theory but in practice. Let’s address the IRS tax code so that the married women are labeled “Taxpayer”or “Co-Taxpayer” instead of “Spouse” as currently is the case, even for those with the income and stature of Hillary Clinton.

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Let us stand up if a potential repeal of Obamacare results in women paying more for the same level of healthcare as men as was the case before the Affordable Care Act. And let us fight for Social Security benefits so that they are no longer predominantly determined by marital status but on our economic contribution, even if that contribution is unpaid. Let’s try to find our best selves in the face of flagrant sexism and be resolute to shape public policy to our advantage.

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