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View Diary: Salon Calls Obama "Uppity" (157 comments)

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  •  I agree with you. I'm not sure it counters ... (3+ / 0-)
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    CocoaLove, onemadson, SaneSoutherner

    the "inexperienced" meme, but it sure as hell (at least to me) counters the "triangulating centrist" meme that he gets from some people on the left.

    When some of the people who accuse him of not being genuinely progessive tell me how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential income they've given up over the years to put their lives where their mouths are, I'll be much more impressed with their argument.

    And he not only left a lucrative corporate job to go to work as a $13,000 a year community organizer for three years before law school, he AGAIN gave up a virtual guarantee of big bucks and a cushy lifestyle with a big corporate law firm after he graduated from law school in order to return to Chicago and split his time between teaching constitutional law and practicing civil rights law.

    As an African-American magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who had been President of the Harvard Law Review, he could have had his choice of a job at virtually any major corporate law firm in the country, making big bucks to start, and becoming genuinely wealthy after he made partner.

    It's one thing when someone who is independently wealthy from inherited money makes the kind of decision that he did to walk away from a big money job, but it's quite another when somebody from a middle class background, such as Barack Obama, does so.  

    I'm from such a background myself, and I never had the guts, or dedication, or something, to make the decision that Barack Obama did.  Even though a part of me wanted to do so, an obviously bigger part valued the economic security first of an established law firm, and then of a position at the Department of Justice, and satisfied itself with pro bono work and a modest level of progressive political involvement whenever I found the time -- and since I didn't graduate from an elite law school, I didn't even have to forego the lucrative economic opportunities that were available to Barack Obama.

    And what of the other two leading Democratic candidates?  They both, upon graduation from law school, went to work making big bucks and confining their efforts to improve the world to a part-time activity.  They made big bucks in different ways -- Hillary Clinton as a corporate lawyer who served on the boards of several major corporations, including Wal-Mart, and John Edwards in a higher-risk, but potentially even more locrative, plaintiffs' law firm.  I certainly don't condemn either of them for their choices, since they made the choice that almost everybody makes who isn't independently wealthy.  But to make a different choice is truly remarkable.

    There are really two candidates in this field who could CLEARLY have parlayed their educational achievements and backgrounds into much more lucrative careers, but who at a relatively young age decided to do something more important with their lives, and who stuck with that decision.

    People who graduate with honors from Columbia undergrad, magna cum laude from Harvard Law, and serve as the President of Harvard Law Review, can make big bucks in the legal profession.  And people who graduate #1 in their class from West Point, then go on to earn a Master's Degree from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and win a Silver Star and numerous other decorations fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, can say "so long" to the Army after their five year service obligation is up and make big bucks in the corporate world.

    Both Barack Obama and Wes Clark have amply demonstrated their dedication to ideals beyond self-interest, in ways that most of us can scarcely imagine.  I'll work like hell for whoever is the Democratic nominee against any Republican I can remotely see being nominated, but it will be with some extra enthusiasm if the nominee is either Obama or Clark.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 11:08:08 PM PST

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