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Brayden Harrington, Hero

Brayden Harrington, giving his Biden speech last night

Joe Biden’s speech at the convention last night was good — not a barn-burner, but upbeat, inspiring, optimistic, and refreshingly normal. We could use refreshingly normal.

But the speech of the evening belonged to Brayden Harrington, a 13 year old boy who stutters, and who explained how Joe Biden, who also stutters, gave him advice on how to speak more clearly when you give a speech. Brayden expressed his thanks for how Biden comforted and inspired him. Check this two-minute speech out:

I have a son who stutters, and let me tell you, as hard as it looked for Brayden to give that little talk, I assure you that it was far, far more difficult. I had tears in my eyes last night watching that brave kid struggle to say his words — tears, because I know from raising a boy who stutters how much courage and grit it took for him to stand before a camera and give that message.

So, this morning, it was a shock to see what a Catholic writer friend of mine tweeted. John Hendrickson, an Atlantic editor who is a stutterer, and who wrote a long, fantastic piece in January on Biden’s struggle with stuttering, called him out:

Austin, it may not surprise you to learn, is author of the recently published The Catholic Case For Trump. The book is 208 pages long, but that one word — “W-w-w-w-w-w-what?” — tells you all you need to know about its case, from this author. This is a particularly nasty case of what Adam Serwer once said about Trump and his supporters: “The cruelty is the point.”

I only hope Austin never has to watch a child suffer as my wife and I have had to do with our son, or the Harrington family has had to do with theirs. I’m not a Biden supporter, but I have long found his natural empathy with people to be the most appealing thing about him. Austin Ruse’s tweet this morning really brings that home — and brings home the contrast between Biden and Trump.

UPDATE: A reader points out that Ruse was not making fun of Brayden, but Joe Biden for stuttering. If that is true, then I apologize for accusing him of mocking Brayden, but I still think it is revolting that he would make fun of Biden or anybody else for stuttering. Again, I have a son who stutters, and understand with particular insight the kind of pain that people who stutter, especially kids, go through, especially when people make fun of them.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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