—This spot for the British Stammering Association reminds Craig Redmond of the bravery and wit of Joe Biden—
Did anyone watch Joe Biden’s most recent Town Hall on CNN? I did. I can’t help myself. I’m drawn to political train wrecks like a moth to the lethal allure of a sparkling bug zapper on a cottage porch.
Biden had gotten himself lodged between a mutinous Democratic rock and an immovable GOP hard place with his $2-trillion relief bill, and I was ravenously curious to see how he was going to squirrel his way out of its entanglement in front of a live audience.
Don’t get me wrong. Compared to his Cheeto-powdered predecessor, jumping Joe is like the second coming saviour. Still, there’s nothing like watching a politician squirm a little. But alas, that guilty pleasure didn’t happen.
Instead, I found myself mesmerized by his courage and grace.
We’ve always known about the President’s dysfluency. He’s spoken openly and often about stuttering as a child and right up to this, his 78th trip around the sun. But under the unrelenting scrutiny of pointed audience questions and the constant interruptive cross-examination from moderator Anderson Cooper, Biden’s speech impediment seemed more pronounced and distracting than usual.
Yet, while he may have stumbled on some syllables, he bravely never missed a beat when it came to his emphatic message.
It was something to behold.
Of course, I wondered if the shameless trolls at Fox News would ridicule Biden’s stuttering again, as they did so vulgarly after his last Town Hall in the summer.
But even if they did, I knew it would have slid off the ancient politician’s Teflon armour and mercilessly beaten back with his lifelong, lifesaving secret weapon—a wickedly self-deprecating sense of humour.
Which brings me, finally, to what’s so wonderful about this effort for the British Stammering Association. It too is served with a delightfully heaping dollop of disarming droll.
Narrated by an out-of-work actor who stutters (or stammers as they say over there), the quirky PSA doesn’t ask for sympathy, nor does it plead for donations to support speech therapy programs. Quite the opposite. It is an unapologetic demand for acceptance and inclusion. And for its entire 90 seconds I was reminded of the inspired performance given by the U.S. President during that tough Town Hall.
So, while I never thought I’d hear myself say this… Happy belated International Stuttering Awareness Day Mr. Biden, Emily Blunt, Shaquille O’Neal, Ed Sheeran, James Earl Jones and the 60 million or so less famous others just like you.
This one’s for you.