As a Stutterer, I’m Proud that Joe Biden Is Running for President

Did you know that Marilyn Monroe stuttered? What about Ed Sheeran? How about former Vice President and current presidential candidate, Joe Biden?

Sitting in my speech therapist’s office for the first time ever at 12 years old, I walked around the waiting room and read a poster on the wall about notable people who stutter. Recognizing the household names on the wall and knowing that I had something in common with them calmed my nerves slightly. The first thing I learned in speech therapy had nothing to do with repetitions or vowel sounds, but the people with whom I shared a unique, personal experience.

I found out that Joe Biden was a stutterer, too, a couple of years ago—a fun fact I learned from attending weekly speech therapy sessions. Now, with him running for the Democratic presidential nomination, his history with his stutter has entered public knowledge.

When I originally learned that Biden and I have something in common, I learned that he had a stutter and overcame it by reciting poetry in a mirror. This is a typical storyline in terms of famous people who stutter—that they overcame their stutter and are completely fluent now. Although it’s motivating to hear that a well-known figure stuttered, that we are similar in that way, this general trope disheartens me and suggests that in order to be successful, one must stop stuttering or grow out of their speech impediment.

However, I’ve recently learned from primary debates and from Biden opening up more about his experience that he still struggles with his speech. When preparing speeches, he marks slashes in between phrases to remind him to pause and avoid rushing, according to CNN. The Atlantic article, “What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say” discusses his hesitancy to admit that he still stutters in some situations.

Throughout his campaign, Biden has spoken about his speech impediment in town halls and shared his experience on social media as well. He took a swing back at the bullies after former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted in December mocking his stutter during a Democratic primary debate.

It’s inspiring to see someone not only raise awareness and educate the public about what it’s like to have a stutter but also be successful in his endeavors. He’s not letting his stutter define him or hold him back.

As a stutterer, that is my ultimate goal in life—not to overcome my stutter and achieve my goals, but rather, to achieve my goals whether or not I stutter.

I’m proud that Joe Biden is running for president and admire his determination, and whether or not you agree with his politics, you should, too.

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