NBC’s Saturday Night Live (Nov. 11), offered a funny and thoughtful exchange between regular Pete Davidson and Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye from an I.E.D. in Afghanistan and was recently elected to the House.
As the segment of Weekend Update unfolded, I was completely unaware of the previous week’s show and who Crenshaw was, and for a moment, believed that the Texas Republican was a character, due in large part to his eye patch.
Davidson frequently makes fun of himself and others, but in the previous week’s segment, he crossed a line when he suggested that candidate Crenshaw looked like “a hit man in a porno movie.” This week, Davidson and SNL were out to make amends.
After Davidson’s apology, Crenshaw appeared on set, next to him as the audience cheered.
“Thanks for coming,” Davidson said.
“Thanks for making a Republican look good!” Crenshaw snapped.
To their credit, SNL has a track record of not only mocking itself but inviting anyone who’s been offended on the show to pile on. Davidson explains to the audience how the Afghanistan vet lost his eye during his third combat tour.
For his part, Crenshaw returned the favor by telling Davidson, “Apology accepted,” just then, his cell phone rang with an Ariana Grande ring tone, a clear knock at Davidson who recently broke-up with the singer.
However, the valuable part of the exchange came when Crenshaw made an appeal, not only on behalf of Veterans Day, but harmony.
“There are a lot of lessons to learn here,” Crenshaw began, “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.
“This is Veterans Day weekend, which means that it’s a good time for every American to connect with a veteran. Maybe say, ‘Thanks for your service.’
“But I would actually encourage you to say something else. Tell a veteran, ‘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 who will never forget the sacrifice of 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!’ ”
The segment was less than five minutes, but it went a long way in offering two important lessons: the first in the power of apology and forgiveness; the second in unity.
Let’s never forget both.