Dan Crenshaw’s eye surgery brings out the ugly in some people

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) announced on Saturday that he was suffering from slo-mo retinal detachment in his remaining eye. He had surgery, which went well but will be functionally blind for a few weeks while he recovers. Decent people – including some leftists – are sending him their best wishes for a safe, speedy recovery. What was appalling was the number of people who reveled in the thought that a man might be permanently blinded.

As probably everyone knows, Crenshaw was a Navy SEAL who was hit by an IED in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. The blast destroyed his right eye (hence the recognizable eye patch) and did serious damage to his left eye. It took multiple surgeries to save the vision in that eye, and the retina continued to be vulnerable.

In a tweet on Saturday, Crenshaw detailed how he realized something was wrong and learned that, while his retina (thankfully) hadn’t detached, it was in the process of detaching. He had an immediate operation, and the prognosis is good. However, to protect the healing retina, he has to be facedown and will be functionally blind, keeping him on the sidelines for several weeks:

In addition to the normal sympathy one would feel for a man who valiantly, and at great cost, fought for his country, and who now serves in Congress with considerable verve and dignity, I had an unusually huge onrush of empathy for Crenshaw. I am at the far end of correctible myopia (-12.5 diopter for those who are curious). I’ve been told that I’m therefore at extremely high risk of having a retinal detachment. It tells you how much the threat worries me that, when I suddenly started seeing kaleidoscopes in my vision a few years ago, I was relieved to learn it was just another migraine (although with a new type of aura), rather than a retinal detachment.

What disturbed me was the crude outpouring of hatred that Crenshaw’s announcement elicited from people who disagree with his politics. Here’s just a sampling of the less obscene ones. (And if you’re interested, “tots and pears” is a very nasty phrase.)

To his credit, Muslim Marine struck exactly the right note:

Conservatives, of course, are sending words of kindness and support.

It’s obvious and banal to say that the internet has been a mixed blessing. I think I would give up all its benefits if that would mean ending the Tech Tyrants’ and the Deep States’ control over American politics and, by extension, over Americans.

But there’s been another mixed blessing, one having nothing to do with political power, which is getting to know one's fellow Americans. Thanks to the internet, we’ve been able to see examples that we never would have seen before of extraordinary talent, beauty, and human decency.

But sadly, because people on social media feel freer to show their ugly side, we’ve also seen so much hatred. Unless you’re literally Hitler (or Mao or Fidel or Charles Manson or the like) no one deserves that level of vitriol simply because of a different political viewpoint within a (still barely) functional democratic republic.

I know everyone at American Thinker joins with me in wishing Dan Crenshaw a safe, speedy, and complete recovery.

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