Dear Big Daddy:
I’d like to be in the political world, but I have a problem: I stutter. Is this an insurmountable handicap? Can I run for office or be a Capitol staff member and still stutter? How ’bout a lobbyist?
–Concerned in Milpitas
I’m always proud of my liberal roots, but never more proud than when I tell you with all my heart that no handicap is insurmountable. If stuttering is the only handicap you have, then you, my friend, are light years ahead of the vast majority of lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists.
I say this for two reasons:
First and foremost, I truly believe it. I wasn’t born a lofty, brilliant, insightful, well-dressed, hard-drinking columnist with great taste in women (well, actually, I suppose I always had that quality). You’re talking to a man who grew up dirt poor in Texas, had to scrape for everything I got and rose to become the speaker of the California state Assembly, to run for governor, and to become the treasurer of the greatest state in the union.
Second, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people who serve in public office or the lobbying corps–some successfully, others significantly less so–with handicaps far more significant than the challenge you face. Some of these handicaps include: