Dear Commons Community,
Last night at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), Joe Biden and Brayden Harrington captured the national television audience attention with their speeches. Joe Biden gave a knockout of an acceptance speech to be the nominee of his party and Brayden spoke (see video above) about the special bond he shares with the former vice president: they both stutter.
“Without Joe Biden,” Brayden said, “I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.” Harrington met Biden at a CNN town hall, where Biden talked about his lifelong struggle with stuttering. Biden told Brayden that they are “members of the same club.”
Brayden delivered a moving speech expressing admiration for Biden. “It was really amazing to hear that someone like me,” he said, “became Vice President.”
Biden has been open about his struggle with stuttering, and, in him Brayden found a kindred spirit who shared some of his techniques to overcome it. “He told me about a book of poems by Yeats that he would read out loud to practice,” Brayden said. “He showed me how he marked his addresses to make them easier to say out loud.” Brayden then showed the audience his own address, illustrating just how much Biden has helped him.
“I’m just a regular kid,” Brayden said with a smile, “and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden has made me feel more comfortable about something that has bothered me my entire life. Joe Biden cared.”
Brayden believes that Joe Biden cares about the future too. “Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone that we can all look up to, someone who cares. Someone who will make our country and the world feel better.” In a convention filled with moving moments, Brayden delivered one of the more poignant speeches.
A few minutes later, Biden took the podium to deliver his acceptance address. He did not stutter.
I can relate to Brayden and Joe Biden. I was a member of the stuttering club as a child. I could not begin a sentence with “I” or a word that began with the letter “W”. Miss Cassidy, my first-grade teacher, took me aside one day to discuss my stuttering. For a couple of months afterwards, I would come to class during lunch hour and she had me say tongue twisters – very slowly at first and eventually at normal speed. My stutter disappeared although even now in my senior years, every once in a great while, it sneaks in again.
Thank you, Miss Cassidy, Brayden, and Joe Biden!