US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s autobiography Fighting Chance is a very engaging read, and goes into her childhood and career as a lawyer and advocate for the vulnerable members of society and how those experienced made her the woman she is today. The early section of the book looks at her parent’s struggles to stay solvent, and how little safety net there is the the US job market and welfare system (and this was growing up in the 60’s – she acknowledges how much cheaper university was for her) to her young marriage and motherhood and coming to the realisation that she simply wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Some of her adventures in cooking – or at least, attempting to cook, two vastly different things given Warren’s impressive ability to set the kitchen on fire with a toaster – are told humorously and and unapologetically. Warren is not the least bit sorry she isn’t hardwired to play the traditional wife and mother.
Law and justice have always been passions of hers, and a significant portion of the book focuses on her fight with the Big Banks over underhanded and illegal activities that, in her mind, caused the 2008 GFC as well as destroyed thousands, if not millions of lives targeting the most financially vulnerable members of society with difficult-to-understand jargon, false promises and outright lies, while those who did the damage got off scot-free. A lot of her political career happened by accident, and as she didn’t much care what Washington insiders thought of her, she felt she had nothing to lose by being true to herself and the causes she was passionate about, and her determination has paid off impressively in the face of fierce opposition.
Reading her autobiography has helped me better understand why so many Americans are pinning their hopes on her for 2020 after such a contentious election (not that I doubt a strong-willed women, independent of most of the allegiances you would expect to find of a career politician, will create her own set of controversies). She makes me think of another trust-busting* politician who Big Finance did everything they could to stop, and in the end only made stronger, a certain Mr. Theodore Roosevelt.
*Of the Big Finance kind, not the public kind