I spent most of yesterday avoiding writing this post. I just really haven’t wanted to face the reality that Andrew Breitbart has left us.
That might sound a little melodramatic, especially considering that I only met him a few times, and perhaps it is. But you have to consider what he accomplished during his short 43 years in order to really understand what we’ve lost.
One word comes to mind when I think about Andrew Breitbart: fearless.
Perhaps no man in the history of our country has done more to expose corruption & shine light on what he would categorize as “government incest.” He had an incredible knack for uncovering scandals & then magnifying his findings, often times through the very media he despised.
Of all his achievements, there remain none higher than his toppling of ACORN. With the help of James O’Keefe, Breitbart exposed this far-left organization for facilitating prostitution, which ultimately led to their downfall. He was also instrumental in forcing Congressman Anthony Weiner out of office, after Weiner was caught sending photos of his namesake to women on Twitter.
And his work didn’t stop there. Breitbart uncovered many scandals in the media and in the White House through his websites BigHollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, BigJournalism.com, Breitbart.tv, etc. He was truly a pioneer in conservative activism, exposing injustice & hypocrisy.
One could write for pages about his accomplishments, what he actually exposed and uncovered in government. Others have done that, and I don’t want to be redundant. I just wanted to write a short note & thank Andrew for all he did for our movement.
Perhaps more important than any quantifiable or tangible accomplishment are the hundreds of thousands of folks, just like me, who Andrew inspired to ask questions, to shine the light in the dark corners of government. He invigorated us. He gave us drive and determination. He showed us the way, but gave us the will.
As one blogger has put it, “he didn’t change conservatism. He changed how it was covered. He changed who covered it.” He empowered us.
I met Andrew several times, but the first time was at the very first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville in early 2010. And of course, Andrew was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. We didn’t visit for more than a few minutes, and I honestly don’t even remember what was said, but there was something incredibly genuine & real about him. There were other pundit/media types at the event, but they were stuffed away in some booth or in their rooms. They weren’t out talking to folks. Andrew, on the other hand, was just out mingling with the folks, saying hi to everyone, taking photos with random strangers. And of course, he gave an amazing speech that day, and a terrific introduction of Sarah Palin the next night before her keynote speech. During that introduction, which you can see here, he said many things about Palin that others are now saying to describe him: warrior, leader, ‘someone who has given us the courage to stand up when we were told to sit down.’
That is what Andrew Breitbart did for me: he gave me the courage to stand up when I was told to sit down. He deserves a great amount of credit & thanks for much of what we have accomplished here with The Patriot, including helping to change the political landscape of my home community.
And how poetic that even from the other side of eternity, his life & his work continue to expose the vitriol of the left, as the twittosphere is flooded with celebrations of his passing. (You can read some of the milder tweets here.) If Andrew were alive today, he would be retweeting them all, exposing them for who they are. So perhaps there is no more fitting of a tribute, no more appropriate of a farewell than all of the vitriol being spewed by the ‘pubic lice of The Left,’ as Andrew would say, in light of his death.
Now that he’s gone, we have a responsibility. A mission. A duty to pick up where he left off. We can never completely replace him. No one else will ever fit perfectly into his shoes–God threw away the mold after he made Breitbart. But we can carry on in his tradition. We can continue to shine the light into government. We can continue to expose the hypocrisy & vitriol of The Left. And we can be fearless, because Andrew was.
A conservative giant is gone. A truth-teller. A fearless, bold, faithful, committed, heroic, champion of justice isn’t here anymore. Our movement has suffered a great loss, and we’ll never completely fill his unique shoes. But we can carry on his work with boldness & integrity. We must.
Andrew Breitbart, 1969-2012.