Joe Biden and the speech of the king

Joe Biden et le discours du roi

Just like me, you may have enjoyed the film The king’s speech, released in 2010. After the abdication of his elder brother Edward VIII, the prince Albert ascends the throne under the name of George VI. The new king has lived with a severe stuttering problem. The film tells us about the efforts to overcome his slurred speech and deliver a speech to millions of listeners at the time of the outbreak of the Second War.

Why recall this history today? Because it seems that Joe Biden has been deeply moved by this story. This comment of Jill Biden, the wife of the democratic candidate, is one of the many revelations drawn from an interview granted by former vice-president to a journalist of The Atlantic.

Since he officially announced his candidacy, the state of physical and mental health of Biden is regularly raised. This was the case during the debates between democratic candidates, and the team of Donald Trump returns regularly to the support on this issue. If it is clear that, at 77 years of age, it no longer displays the same energy and the same physical form during his two terms at the vice-presidency, should we necessarily conclude that his intellectual faculties are equally affected?

In the past, Joe Biden has rarely addressed the issue of his stuttering. After having refused to grant extensive interviews on the subject, he suddenly gives his agreement to The Atlantic. The journalist who led the discussion is himself a person who stutters, and he does not hide that he wants to hear a candidate acknowledge openly that he still experiences problems with speech, if only to help to break down prejudices.

You probably know the reputation of the blundering of Biden. Ever since, he happens to be mistaken or distort words or phrases. It is not impossible that a good portion of these blunders is attributable to ongoing efforts to control his stuttering.

All of the evidence presented in the article confirm that it has always been a person who stutters. Subject of many taunts in high school and college, he was able to deal with the situation by compensating with his humor and his athletic prowess. Rather than confide or seek help, he was able to develop a number of stuff to control his stuttering, assuming then fully its reputation as a blunderer.

If the story of the difficulties of the younger Biden leaves hardly insensitive and that we can only rejoice to hear it launch a message of hope to many young Americans, the timing of the interview raised some eyebrows. At 77 years of age, in full presidential campaign and faced with attacks on his cognitive faculties, he at last consents to lift the veil…

The message is positive and noble, but nobody is fooled. At the end of the interview, we stay with the unpleasant sensation of recovery policy. We wanted to reassure and calm down the attacks by attributing the hesitations and omissions of the applicant in his or her single stuttering.

The election of 2020 has a particular character for many reasons, but it is rare that there are questions as openly about the mental acuity of the two candidates. I don’t know if the voters will be reassured or convinced by the confessions of Biden, but expect their opponents to return to the charge. Regardless of the reason, the democratic candidate has worried allies and loved ones. If, for the moment, it can afford to remain discreet, the months of September and October will be seriously tested.

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