Comedian Pete Davidson made fun of Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch on Saturday Night Live. Crenshaw lost his eye in combat during a tour of duty in Afghanistan. A kerfuffle ensued and Crenshaw appeared on the show so Davidson could apologize. After Crenshaw insulted Davidson to even the score, he ended the bit on this serious note:
“There’s a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another,” Crenshaw said. “We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other.”
Given my propensity for bringing people face-to-face from across the political spectrum, this interaction delighted me and I posted about it on Facebook. However, many people weren’t happy with the popular show giving a national platform to someone who has far right views. I understand. If it had been anyone but a war veteran, I would have probably agreed.
My post generated a short-lived Facebook comment clash with an IRL, thoughtful, smart friend who has far left views with which I sometimes disagree. I have appreciated, however, the ways in which he pushes my thinking and forces me to analyze and articulate my views in a mindful manner. Often times, he pulls me closer to the left. Other times, I feel more grounded in my generally more moderate beliefs. Regardless, I am glad to be having these conversations with someone who is equally passionate about making the world a better place.
Here’s our Facebook “conversation”:
Facebook Friend (FF): His platform is pro-gun, anti-abortion, “border security, border security, border security,” pro-religious freedom, and anti-Affordable Care Act, among other tenets of the Trump-era Republican Party. Perhaps even more telling, though: He was an admin on a far-right Facebook group called “Tea Party” that trafficked in conspiracy theories and racism.
Me: What does any of that have to do with making fun of a guy’s eye patch that he has to wear because he lost his eye while serving in the military? I’m super down for attacking his platform and political record tho
FF: It dosent make any sense. This is empty political posturing disguised as moral highroad. It was a PR stunt and it payed off. You cant be so far right and preach a gospel of forgiveness and understanding, its hypocracy! Its As disingenuos as dana loesh at the parkland town hall.
Me: You might be right, probably no one on the far side of anything is capable of forgiveness and understanding. [Note: I was lumping FF in this assessment but might have been too subtle for him to pick up on.] That seems inherent to the position! Regardless, making fun of a guy who lost his eye in combat is not something I can get behind. I’m good with denying service in restaurants and yelling at people in front of their homes etc. tho! And again, I’m good with attacking Crenshaw’s political record all day long. (Dana Loesh didn’t exactly preach any kind of forgiveness at the town hall btw. She was combative and condescending. I don’t see how she is relevant to this particular discussion.)
FF: im only bringing up dana cause if another group of kids gets shot up, this man who rides off the sympathy of his own wounds, will double down on the 2A rhetoric just the same. He has no empathy for the victims of guns, no empathy for the immigrants who children are stolen, no empathy for a woman’s right to choose. I understand the moral line in the sand with making light of veterans, but he is not exactly the person who deserves any applause or the platform he’s been given that has only valorized his hateful base.
Me: I’m not sinking to Trump’s level, I won’t model myself after a man who attacked a gold star family and never apologized for it. I don’t applaud Dan Crenshaw. I applaud Pete Davidson for having the humility to apologize, for doing a thing that the president of our country did not have the courage or decency to do. This isn’t about the character of Crenshaw and whether he deserved it. This is about Pete Davidson’s character and doing the right thing regardless of how awful the other guy is. Look, I’m not perfect at this at all. I’ve been petty and spiteful. I aspire to be better than those people who lack human compassion and empathy. Regardless of whether they show compassion and empathy for me.