An Example That Americans Can Embrace

At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal: A comedian on Saturday Night Live decided to make fun of a candidate running for office during the mid-term elections. What is wrong with that? Fair game, right?

Unfortunately, it was a savage, insensitive attack – even by SNL standards.

Cast member Peter Davidson shocked the country when he made an appalling joke at the expense of Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL and U.S. House of Representatives candidate for Texas’s 2nd congressional district. Crenshaw, whose political party I won’t even mention because it is not important, wears an eye patch because he lost an eye in an IED explosion during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Davidson, in a moment of what the heck are you thinking?, quipped during his Weekend Update segment that Crenshaw looked like “a hit man from a porno movie.”

Congressman Dan Crenshaw wears an eye patch because of an IED injury in Afghanistan.

Seriously? But Davidson wasn’t done. Instead, he awkwardly followed his failed joke by saying, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war…or whatever.”

As you could imagine, the country stood up for Crenshaw. Folks from both aisles of the political spectrum in addition to average Americans expressed desire for Davidson to be held accountable. The heat was real and Arianna Grande’s former fiancé was shriveling in it.

But then something truly remarkable happened. Mr. Crenshaw spoke up about Davidson’s vicious jokes.

Stop the outrage. Cool your jets. Relax.

The target of a hit job that went so below the belt, Crenshaw urged restraint. Instead of milking the ugly and mean-spiritedness of the failed attempt at humor, he decided to refrain. Instead, he told the people who quickly came to his defense to just take a step back.

We need to stop this culture of outrage, Crenshaw communicated. No longer should we demand apologies, no longer should we expect press conferences to remedy something that offended someone else. Our society must stop craving Twitter statements and Facebook Live confessions. Every misstep, he reasoned, is not worth a “gotcha” moment that must be atoned for.

Look, I can jump on Crenshaw’s bandwagon and admit that the hunger for public apologies and out-of-whack sensitivity levels are at an all-time high. But doesn’t the Davidson attack take it to a whole new level? Shouldn’t this be the benchmark for when you better apologize as quickly and sincerely as you can?

According to Crenshaw, the answer is no.

The wisdom and humility of Dan Crenshaw must be embraced. If he can withstand such an attack on national television, perhaps we can all lighten up when someone says something that might not come across as politically correct. Instead of throwing the first stone, we can withhold our judgement and let the person who made the comment respond on his/her own terms. If the response that we desire never comes, it might be a good idea to not waste negative energy and simply move on.

This strategy, pioneered by a war hero, ended up paying off for him…

1. He won his election (congratulations, Congressman Crenshaw)
2. He cooperated with the ultimate “be a good sport” gesture, going on SNL and brilliantly participating in the Weekend Update sketch with Davidson (and receiving an apology that he never sought).
3. He was invited to write this incredible op-ed that was showcased in newspapers nationwide. Take my word for it and follow the link — he summed up his stance in a much more eloquent way than I ever could.

Being a good sport, Crenshaw went on the program that unmercifully mocked him.

It doesn’t matter what political ideology you subscribe to, we can all learn from Congressman Dan Crenshaw. In order to move forward in this country, we need to thicken our skin a little bit. Don’t Blink.

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