There are only a few days in a lifetime like this. September 11, 2001 and the day Ronald Reagan passed away come to mind. And now, I am among a legion of others who will never forget where we were the day we lost Andrew Breitbart.
I had just left home for a day full of appointments…was five minutes into my trip…and then Glenn Beck got the news: “Andrew Breitbart is…dead.” I had to pull off the road, overcome by shock and sorrow.
Unlike many of my friends, I can’t claim to have been close to Andrew Breitbart. I have seen him many times and we’ve spoken on a couple of occasions, but I’m confident he wouldn’t have known my name. His influence on my life, though, was unsurpassed in so many respects. For one, we did share a host of mutual friends: Kurt Schlichter (& “Hot Wife” Irina Moises), Breitbart TV editor Larry O’Connor, Stage Right Show producer Meredith Dake, Big Journalism contributor Ben Howe, and of course, my dear friend Jenny Erikson…
This could go on and on. Because all of us in social media loved Breitbart. If there is a constant theme I’ve heard echoed all day, it would be fearlessness. Breitbart never held back; he gave it everything he had, whether skewering the Left or partying with his friends on the Right.
I’m a reader. As I shared with another mutual friend, Sarah Smith (@mamaswati on Twitter) earlier today, Breitbart’s 2011 memoir clearly came out just in time. It was one of the literary highlights of summer 2011 for me. I absorbed it at a time when I was working through a lot of changes, including the loss of my job in an unprecedentedly tough economy. The story of Breitbart’s success, despite his languid approach to much of the first half of his life (which he shared very candidly in his book) gave me hope that maybe there was still a role for me to play in the fight for my country, despite recent personal setbacks.
I ran into Breitbart a few weeks later at the Smart Girl Summit in St. Louis. I stepped into the elevator at the Crowne Plaza and there he was, busily texting away on his smart phone. I touched his arm to get his attention and told him how much I had enjoyed his book. He smiled broadly, thanked me and grinned somewhat self-deprecatingly…I couldn’t think of much else to say, so my friend Rick Hornsby chatted with him, and then we all exited the elevator and went our separate ways. At least, I got to express my gratitude…But I wish I’d have had years, decades even, to get to know him even better. The ache of loss is heavy…though not a fraction as severe as the pain is for his wife and four children.
I hate to personalize a day like this, but if I’ve internalized any conviction from our collective sorrow, it is this one: I need to be back in this fight. I have allowed my new career to detract me from blogging and connecting with fellow movement soldiers. I’ve listened to the voice in my head again for far too long that tells me what I say doesn’t matter, that too few care anymore for the country’s future and that the struggle is lost. It’s a lie. I am needed in this cause…and so are thousands upon thousands, yea, millions of you.
For Andrew Breitbart knew and embraced the secret: There are more of us…those who treasure the ideals of the Founders…than there are of them…the progressive detractors of the nation’s heritage.
So as long as I live, I will employ the Breitbart name as a rallying cry for freedom’s cause and I will never forsake this fight for the Constitution, for liberty…for the United States of America.
Rest in peace, Andrew Breitbart. We will NEVER forget you.