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Writing for Office

February 4, 2003 |

MC Keillor

I have a moderate to severe stutter, and I would like to run for political office. But I realize in our media-saturated culture today that a person with a stutter would be portrayed as "mental", and would be cast aside. I happen to believe that I can communicate intelligently, eloquently, and passionately in the written medium. In your opinion, could a candidate pull off a victory in this manner? I'm afraid I know what the answer is, but just a fellow writer's opinion would be appreciated.

Nathan Benn
Des Moines, IA

Nathan, I imagine a person could conceivably be elected to public office and never stand up in public and speak, but probably you wouldn't want to be: you'd be a poor public servant if you were so self-conscious about verbal communication that you couldn't take part in the normal give and take of discussion. Stutterers bother people because they excite our pity and they slow down the tempo. But the problem does seem to ease up considerably later in life, it seems to me, and so maybe you can save this for your fifties and sixties.

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