Saturday Night Live’s skit about retired Navy SEAL and congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw just wasn’t funny at all.
The joke–if you can call it a joke–felt like someone kicked me in the stomach.
The laughter from the audience following Pete Davidson’s depraved statement about Crenshaw was the worst part of the entire skit.
Davidson joked when Crenshaw’s picture came up on screen Saturday night that he looked like a “hitman from a porno” because he wears an eyepatch over his left eye, which he lost while serving in Afghanistan.
“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war…(laughter) or whatever,” he said as he laughed and the audience laughed with him.
Can you imagine what it’s like to lose your sight?
Imagine fighting overseas, far away from your loved ones, only to find yourself blinded in a momentary hail of gunfire and a grenade being lobbed over your head.
Imagine asking the doctors at a makeshift hospital in Afghanistan if you can call your family before they wheel you into a surgery that they tell you, you may never survive.
That’s what happened to my husband, Marty, on Easter Sunday, 2011.
“Baby, I got dinged up a bit. I love you.”
That was all Marty said before the doctors came on the line and told me he might not make it through the surgery. He would endure three craniotomies and rehabilitation before he recovered.
He made it through the surgeries but was left permanently blinded in both eyes.
My husband, who seemed invincible to almost everyone he knew him, now couldn’t even find the bathroom in his hospital room.
He never once complained about it. Never once have I heard him say “why me.”
The only time I ever saw him really break down was when he realized he would never see his children’s faces–or mine, ever again. He realized he wouldn’t be able to play baseball with his son. He wouldn’t be able to drive his motorcycle. It was then, that he came to terms with the fact that he would more than likely never see again.
But he still had us. Our family and friends were now his soldiers, fighting by his side and sticking with him through the worst of it.
It’s those small things that we take for granted that–in the end–are so important.
He was left in complete darkness, describing his situation then as if he were “walking through a black velvety cave hearing voices in the distance.”
I wonder when SNL’s Davidson chose to make fun of Crenshaw, if he even cared to realize what it would be like to walk in Crenshaw’s shoes for one moment.
Crenshaw told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, “The first part of that skit was just strange … The second part, I think, is when it just became dark.”
“We have thick skin, but as veterans, it’s hard for us to understand why war wounds would elicit such raucous laughter from an audience,” Crenshaw said.
I agree with Crenshaw.
And like Crenshaw, most American’s didn’t find Davidson’s joke humorous, but can agree that this great nation is worth fighting for and dying for. It is this very nation that beckons people from all over the world seeking refuge from inequality, injustice and the darkness that unfortunately plagues their homelands.
While many see SNL’s skit as another example of how divided our nation is, to me, it ended up serving as a reminder of just how connected we all are. Twitter responses from all across the country came pouring in after I posted how gut wrenching Davidson’s skit was to me and my family.
Davidson’s bad humor brought back this realization: Whether we’re at an airport trying to board a plane with our children and service dog, or in line at a grocery store, a simple “thank you for your service” can really make our day. I do the same every time I see a service member or law enforcement official.
Thank you for your service. Five simple words.
So, if there is anything I’m grateful for in this whole SNL mess, it’s reminder that the real heroes are among us everyday–some are right in our own homes.
Thank you Dan Crenshaw for your service to our nation.
Thank you Marty for being the best husband any woman could ask for, and thank you America for standing by those who serve.
Now, if SNL would be so kind to say the same, I think we can all move on and remember what’s important.