I used to tell people that Andrew Breitbart was a visionary, and he was, but he was also a leader. His perspective was that of an L.A. kid raised in the heart of popular culture who stopped being able to square the circle of the liberal milieu. He not only saw where liberalism fell short, but felt a righteous anger at the way the left betrayed the very principles it espoused, and anger that made him point it out.
And people listened, because he was a visionary. But they did more than just listen. They acted, because he was a leader.
Andrew was without pretension – he really didn’t care who you were. He just wanted to lead other conservatives into the fight. This is a guy who mingled with titans like Rush Limbaugh, but just as easily with people none of us have ever heard of – yet.
I had not written about politics in years when I got introduced to Andrew over Facebook by a mutual friend. We talked about the best Mexican food in San Diego and the 80’s bands we loved. I knew he had just put up Big Hollywood, so when I saw a story about some Hollywood folks premiering their movie for the troops in the Middle East, I sent him the tip and thought nothing more of it.
He wrote back, and said, “Why don’t you do it?” So I did, thinking it was a one-off. That was well over 100 articles ago. Once you were in Andrew’s orbit, there was no escape. You were in, and it was ahead Warp Factor Andrew.
Those who knew him would laugh at the hatemongers who called him “racist” or “homophobe” – things that were the very opposite of who he was and what he believed. There is a great difference between Andrew and the people who despised him. He was angry because people failed to live up to basic standards of decency; the haters hated because he defied them.
For different reasons, Andrew’s friends and his enemies are both testaments to his character.
On an intellectual level, I knew that Breitbart had died, but I only knew it in my gut when I suddenly realized my cell phone would never light up again with him calling about some wild idea that was going to drive his opponents nuts.
And the loss we all feel is dwarfed by the fact that the family he loved so much is in terrible pain.
Keep them in your prayers.
Our movement lost a visionary and a leader, a guy who could see the challenge but inspire others to fight beside him. There will never be another conservative warrior like Andrew, but thanks to him, there will many, many more conservative warriors.
When a leader falls in battle, the army doesn’t just stop. Another leader shouts, “Follow me!” and the charge continues. This week, one leader fell. But dozens will spring up to take up his banner.