January 18, 2020

Don’t talk like Biden? Don’t be like Lara Trump. ~ Waylon

Bullying: Ugly is as Ugly Does.

“I feel kind of sad for Biden…I’m supposed to want him to fail at every turn, but every time he comes onstage or they turn to him, I’m like, ‘Joe can you get it out? Let’s get the words out Joe.’ “

Lara Trump Makes Fun of Joe Biden’s Speech — Seemingly Unaware He Used to Stutter: “I’ve worked my whole life to overcome a stutter,” Biden once said. “And it’s my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same”

For years, I thought Joe Biden had a funny way of talking. He was eloquent, often, he was charming, often, but just as often he’d gaffe. He has a reputation for it.

Then, some time ago, I learned he’d stuttered as a child, and worked hard to overcome it. And his meandering way of speaking, the funny way his speech comes out, is a leftover from that.

And I felt a little ashamed, as I should (I just did a podcast on the positive side of “shaming,” which has become social media speak for “don’t call me on anything ever, let me be selfish or ignorant”).

Now, I believe in participating in politics. That’s democracy—not a spectator sport, but rather something we should all take an active caring role in.

But I’m not a politician, and my last name ain’t Biden, or Trump.

So if I knew about this, I’m surprised—shocked, really—if Lara Trump didn’t. Only a month ago, Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to apologize (a blessed rarity in Trumpverse) for making fun of Joe’s speech habits. And yet, Ms. Trump was just overheard saying:

“Joe, can you get it out?” Ms. Trump was seen saying onstage, as a few giggles are heard from an otherwise silent audience. “Let’s get the words out, Joe.”

Now, I had to write much the same thing about Senator McCain, some years ago, when folks were making fun of his strange way of raising his arms.

“Senator McCain needs to do some yoga…” 

Making fun of one’s speech is personal. I, too, grew up with a speech impediment, and only got through it thanks to public education speech classes. I still slur, and struggle to say my “j’s,” and “s’s” most particularly.

I’ll take this further. Joe is a decent man. If any Trump, or any American wants to take issue with him, take issue with his policies. And if any Democrat doubts his ability to handle President Trump in debate, remember this unsure way of speaking is…just that. Not mental fog, but the leftover hesitation from a lifetime of overcoming anxiety-inducing, bully-baiting disability.

“This culture of cruelty is what drives decent people from public service, and what makes millions of Americans recoil from politics, and even from participating in our democracy. Vice President Biden has spoken openly — and courageously, in my view — about the pain of his severe childhood stutter. He takes time to reach out to children who have suffered as he did.” ~ Sully

Am I a Biden supporter? Sure, I’d vote for him over President Trump, without hesitation. But no, I’m a Warren or Bernie or Bloomberg fan, where things stand now.

But this campaign will in real way be about fighting bullying cowardice, and reclaiming empathy as an American value. Let’s start now, with granting Biden not just our patience but our understanding that, at least in speech and against bullies, he’s overcome a great deal.

Spread the word.

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