“Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson may have made a star out of incoming Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), but it was what the comedian whispered to the now-famous Navy veteran after their joint “SNL” segment that really gave me hope for the future of our political discourse.
After about five minutes of jokes, where Crenshaw landed a few light-hearted jabs at Davidson, the segment wrapped. But the microphones were still on.
Davidson leaned over to Crenshaw and whispered, “You’re a good man.”
The reality is, had Crenshaw not behaved the way he did following Davidson’s poorly executed joke at the veteran’s expense, Saturday night’s segment, when the two men came together to celebrate America’s war heroes, probably wouldn’t have ever happened.
On NBC's Saturday Night Live, Pete Davidson mocks GOP Congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw for losing his eye in war: “You may be surprised to hear he’s a Congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever.” pic.twitter.com/krQwesqLAV
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 4, 2018
Even as Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican Party, was calling on “SNL” to apologize for Davidson’s bad joke, Crenshaw made it clear he didn’t want an apology. Instead, he gracefully critiqued the quip while also encouraging his own fellow conservatives to avoid the temptation to be “outwardly outraged,” arguing apologies just aren’t necessary every time someone is offended.
As a result of his graceful response, Crenshaw was invited on “SNL,” where forgiveness stole the show. That’s what gives me hope.
When we — like Crenshaw and Davidson — are able to see our common humanity and celebrate our shared experiences, good things can happen. It takes humility, and both men embraced it over the weekend.
Davidson and Crenshaw, like most of us, really aren’t that different from each other.
The comedian’s father, Scott, was a firefighter who died during the terrorist attacks in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 — a tragedy that led Davidson to struggle with his mental health. Crenshaw, a retired Navy SEAL, fought to defend the country from the attack that killed Davidson’s dad.
During his tour to Afghanistan in 2012, Crenshaw was hit by an IED blast. The war hero was evacuated and awoke from a medically induced coma to discover his right eye had been destroyed and his left eye was severely damaged.
Initially blind, Crenshaw underwent a battery of surgeries. His vision ultimately returned to his left eye, after which he deployed overseas two more times.
On Saturday night, Crenshaw implored Americans to “forgive one another” and “remember what brings us together as a country.” He also paid respect to Davidson’s father, asking viewers to tell veterans, “Never forget.”
“Never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s father,” Crenshaw said, before shaking Davidson’s hand and telling him to “never forget.” The comedian reciprocated, adding, “And that is from both of us.”
It was a truly American moment, and it gives me hope for the future of our political discourse.