Last Saturday during the Weekend Update segment on SNL, show star Pete Davidson ridiculed then-candidate Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw for his eye patch.
It was not the slightest bit amusing.
Crenshaw, a Texas Republican and former Navy SEAL who is now Congressman-elect after winning on Tuesday, lost his right eye from an IED blast during his third combat tour in Afghanistan. He is truly a war hero and did not deserve to be publically mocked. The “joke” was absolutely inexcusable and both Davidson and SNL were excoriated by those on the Left and Right for their poor taste. (I agree with my colleague, Sarah Quinlan, who wrote last week that some topics should be off-limits to comedians. A disability from combat is one of them.)
One week later, on Veterans Day weekend, Crenshaw made an appearance on the same segment. The move was unexpected and frankly, a perfect conclusion to what SNL had begun.
Watch for yourself in the full video segment below.
I am no fan of Saturday Night Live and rarely – if ever – watch, but this was refreshing.
Not only did Davidson apologize on behalf of himself and the show, but he allowed Crenshaw to poke fun at him. In turn, Crenshaw accepted the apology and then reminded Americans that not only can we forgive one another, but that all of us must respect our brave veterans (and even first responders) who have given so much.
First, there was a light-hearted opportunity to get back at Davidson.
‘Pete looks like Martin Short in The Santa Clause 3,’ Crenshaw says.
Then he adds: ‘By the way, one of these people is actually good on SNL.’
Davidson sheepishly adds: ‘You’re right. You’re not wrong.’
Then came the important part, emphasis mine.
There’s a lot of lessons to learn here,’ Crenshaw says. ‘Not just that the left and right can agree on some things, but also this – Americans can forgive one another.’
‘We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other.’
‘It’s a good time for every American to connect with a veteran,’ he says.
‘Maybe thanks for your service, but I would encourage you to say something else: “Never forget”.
‘When you say “never forget” to a veteran, you are implying that as an American, you are in it with them, not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans.
‘Never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.
‘And never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s father.
‘So I’ll just say: “Pete, never forget”.’
Davidson, whose father, Scott Davidson, was a New York City firefighter who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, replies: ‘Never forget.’
‘And that is for both of us,’ Davidson says.
It’s clear that veteran and soon-to-be member of Congress, Lt. Comm. Dan Crenshaw, is all class. Credit goes to Davidson, too. He received a necessary backlash and apologized on air. Hopefully, he and the show will learn from it. Since Davidson’s own father lost his life while in service to others, he should extend grace to those who have made similar sacrifices, regardless of politics.
In a time when our country is more divided than ever, SNL’s apology and Crenshaw’s appearance and plea serve as a welcome moment of unity around our shared ideals.