A Fighting Chance

9781250062253_p0_v3_s260x420So, who is Elizabeth Warren?  Before reading this book I didn’t know much about her, and in this past week I’ve asked my students who she is and I got a bunch of blank stares. I honestly don’t even know what drew me to this book, other than I knew she might be someone who throws her hat into the ring in the 2016. A Fighting Chance is part memoir, but it also describes her law and political career. She is relatively new to the world of politics, (compared to other congressmen and women who have served for years), having only started serving in the Senate in 2012. However, she was a law professor for many years, and became involved in TARP (the Treasury Asset Relief Program), beginning with Senator Ted Kennedy, who originally held the Senate seat that she’s currently serving in (along with his brother).

She’s currently serving the state of Massachusetts, where she had worked at Harvard as a law professor. Her beginnings were much more humble. She was born in Oklahoma, to a working class family. As a woman she faced unique challenges in her career. Her mother actually encouraged her not to focus too much on college, and to instead focus on finding a good husband. It was after her daughter was born that she decided to go to law school, her mother discouraged that too. Her father worked as a janitor, and her mother worked in a bank – which gives insight into who she is as an individual.  It also kind of explains why she became involved with bankruptcy law.

This became the focus of her career, and one of the main reasons she became involved in politics. Another project she became involved with is the income gap. It’s something she worked on with her daughter, who was interested in statistics. What they concluded was that the income gap between the richest Americans and the working class is growing harder.  It has become one of the focuses of her political career. One of the reasons that I loved this book w as that it made me think about … It just made so much sense.

I know that the average American won’t pick up this book – but the average American should be interested in the work that she’s doing. One important question she poses is why there are so many government agencies and policies governing products and none for banking. If consumers are protected from bad consumer products, food, etc. – then what about loans and the terms of loans?? If this isn’t her attempt to run for president in 2016, maybe it should be.  In running for the Senate, she ran against Scott Brown, who won the Senate seat after Ted Kennedy’s death. I think people were shocked when a Republican newcomer won this long-heald Democratic position. She gives an intamite account of the campaign trail and it was somewhat shocking. Whatever your position on Super Pacs are, for or against, I learned they have much more power than I ever knew. They were allowed to run campaign ads, without giving money directly to candidates, or declaring their identities, or their backers.  I loved this book, and loved getting to know her better.  She’s one of the few politicians in Washington whose political career seems untarnished.


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