When we meet a veteran or someone serving in the armed forces, our typical reaction is to say, “Thank you for our service.” However, former Navy Seal and newly elected Senator for the state of Texas, Dan Crenshaw is challenging us to say something different:
On November 10, 2018, Crenshaw appeared on Saturday Night Live and he stated this, “When you say ‘never forget’ to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them.”
Many of us have friends and family who have served in the armed forces. We so often will respond with a thank you, which is respectful and appreciated. However, when we say “Never forget,” we are letting them know that we remember their service. That we are who we are because of them and what they have given us. We keep their service and the service of others in our hearts. We do not forget.
Example of Civility:
In addition to teaching us a new way to show respect to our veterans, Dan Crenshaw is an example of civility in the face of criticism.
A week ago, Pete Davidson, a regular on SNL made fun of Dan Crenshaw as part of a Weekend Update skit talking about midterm elections. While showing a picture of Crenshaw, Davidson said,
“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit-man in a porno movie,” the comedian joked. “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
Retaliation or The Lack Thereof
When this happened, in the current political climate you would have expected Crenshaw to fight back. A comedian had just mocked him for his eye patch, a result of a massive explosion from an IED six years ago that almost killed him. He lost his left eye and has extremely limited vision in his right eye.
However, Crenshaw did not attack or retaliate. Instead, he merely posted on Twitter, “ Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”
Crenshaw’s demeanor and reaction to criticism show him as an excellent example of civility.
Even when disagreeing with Donald Trump, he stresses the importance of being civil. In an interview with the Washington Post, he stated,
“His style is not my style,” Crenshaw says. “I’ll just say that. It’s never how I would conduct myself. But what readers of The Washington Post need to understand is that conservatives can hold multiple ideas in their head at the same time. We can be like, ‘Wow he shouldn’t have tweeted that’ and still support him . . . You can disapprove of what the president says every day, or that day, and still support his broader agenda.”
Crenshaw on SNL
SNL founder Lorne Michaels ended up calling Crenshaw to invite him to appear on the show. During the show, Pete Davidson and he made fun of each other. However, in the end, Pete Davidson gave a sincere apology for what he said.
Crenshaw then spoke about the importance of civility:
“But, seriously, there’s a lot of lessons to learn here,” Crenshaw said, addressing the camera as he sat next to Davidson. “Not just that the left and right can still agree on some things but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country.”
Dan Crenshaw shows us that we can be civil and kind. In a political environment where attacking and rebuttals are the norm, he shows us that there is a better way.
Let’s remember what Crenshaw said. This Veteran’s Day as we honor and pay our respects to those who have served our country, we need to come together as a nation.
Thank you to all those serving in all branches of the armed forces. Thank you to our veterans. Thank you to those who have lost those they love who were defending our country.
We will never forget.