On stuttering presidents and Republican bullies

On stuttering presidents and Republican bullies

Donald Trump mocks Joe Biden’s stutter,” the headlines blare, and I am confronted (again) with (more) proof that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee hates people like me.

I don’t remember when they told me I stuttered, but I do remember the banana chips I got as “rewards” in the speech room in my Ohio grade school. I learned tricks that worked well and tricks that didn’t, tricks that I still use to this day, and tricks I’ve long forgotten. I don’t remember if I got picked on for it, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Fifth grade was my Nerd Year, after all, plagued by incessant bullying and the kid-violence that comes with it. 

But I do remember when the former vice president “came out” as a stutterer in a sprawling profile in The Atlantic, written by John Hendrickson, a stutterer himself.

I already knew Biden stuttered, because I’m a stutterer and Extremely Online, but the big reveal rippled through the media and endeared him to the public. People seemed to be watching for the former vice president to get caught on words, just so they could loudly forgive him for it. He even invited a young stutterer to be part of the virtual Democratic National Convention that summer, and I cried as I watched the video. 

Some four years later, my response to video of Trump mocking Biden elicited a far different response. 

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