I remember how surreal it was to be introduced to Andrew Breitbart. I would bet that, at the time, most people who didn’t regularly follow politics wouldn’t have known who Andrew Breitbart was. But for those of us who did, he was quickly becoming larger than life.
When we met, I had had no clue that Andrew and I would become friends–or how our friendship would ultimately change my life. And it started the very next day.
President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) bused in about 150 vile astro-turf protesters to protest a conservative conference just outside of Chicago. They chanted “No more Palin, no more Tea, no more crazies in D.C.” Of course, it didn’t matter to them that Palin wasn’t even at the event. In fact, as Andrew had shown us all hundreds of times, busloads full of OFA, SEIU and Moveon.org protesters usually don’t know much about anything.
Word got around that something was happening outside the conference. “AB is confronting a mob,” someone said. I ran out to see what was going on. In an instant I was in the middle of what Andrew called “the Scrum.”
To me, when Andrew talked about “the Scrum,” he was talking about the fight. The fight in the streets that starts with an organizer and a bullhorn along with a rabid mob of protesters chanting about things they know nothing about. It’s one of the best political weapons of the organized left, used to convey the perception that whatever their cause of that day happens to be, you can be assured that massive numbers of people support it.
And over the years, this effort has been aided and abetted by the “mainstream media,” who are always on hand to broadcast the images of the anger out to the world; i.e., the “liberal-media complex.”
Only now, thanks to Andrew, also in the middle of the Scrum, is a new force: citizen media–as Andrew said, “to capture the lies.”
That day, as the mob chanted, I watched Andrew, in his mastery, make the left expose themselves (paraphrasing) “for the vile, racketeering, hypocrites they really are.” He crammed himself between them and the news cameras, going one-by-one, asking them to explain why they were there and what their signs meant.
And then came his greatest “trap” question ever: “Give me one–not a hundred, one–example of how your sign is true.” A “trap” question that was never answered, that could never be answered by the OFA protestors.
As I stood there in the Scrum, pointing my iPhone camera at all of this, with no clue what I was doing–other than enjoying it immensely–I thought to myself, “I can do this, too. This is how to expose the left.”
A few weeks later I sat at a stoplight in downtown Chicago, and noticed an anti-Israel/anti-American protest happening on Michigan Avenue on a busy Saturday afternoon. Across the street I noticed a far smaller group of pro-Israel/pro-American counter protesters, peacefully standing up in opposition.
So I decided to do what I learned that day in the Scrum with Andrew, which has since grown into a strange addiction I can’t seem to shake. I parked my car and approached the protesters with my iPhone video camera on “record.”
I started asking the protesters why they were there, and what organization they were with. They responded with hostility, exposed their lack of intelligence, gave me all the viral video content I needed–and RebelPundit was born.
Over the next two years I experienced dozens of protests, ambush interviews, and some great roadtrips with my friend Andrew Breitbart. On one such roadtrip, in a car ride from Chicago to St. Louis, Andrew asked me, “What can I help you with in Illinois? I feel like I need to be here.” I told him my ideas, and a few months later, after catching Congressman Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) receiving an award for a lifetime of leadership at the Communist Party U.S.A. headquarters in Chicago, Andrew offered me a job.
The very next morning, March 1, 2012, when we were scheduled to discuss my relationship with Breitbart News, I got a phone call from our mutual friend who originally introduced us. “Andrew died last night. Andrew’s dead.”
As I write this tribute now, and think back about how I abandoned a successful career in real estate, with not an ounce of journalism or video production experience, to try and help Andrew “save the world,” the same emotions overwhelm me–that overwhelmed me and all of us that day.
And that day I wrote:
Andrew lifted the veil that covered the true war being fought inside America between truth and deception, freedom and tyranny, and good and evil. He unmasked the media in a way that has never been done before, exposing what we in America are truly up against in the struggle to maintain the blessings of our founders. He declared and publicized the ongoing civil war that began many years ago, that we were unaware of, and is far from over.
Andrew was not a conservative commentator, at least not to me. When I met Andrew a little over a year and a half ago, I knew instantly this was a man I would follow into battle against the greatest opponents of freedom and liberty America–and quite possibly the world–has ever seen.
Andrew could spot the forces lurking in the dark shadows of the American left and, as he described it, the liberal-media complex, better than anyone who walked among us. He could see the battle lines drawn on a digital battlefield just as General Washington saw them through the colonial forests. He led an army of amateur activists, amateur journalists, watchdogs and modern day warriors picking apart the tactics of Saul Alinksy’s red army of community organizers, just as Washington led an untrained militia to take out the British generals, leaving their soldiers undirected and ripe for defeat.
Andrew’s fire was contagious. I caught it from him, and I have many amazing friends that are each blessed to feel the same flame. Andrew lit the torch of truth, he carried in front of all of us, he led us into battle and we anxiously followed.
Today is a sad day for America, it is a sad day in the battle for freedom, but it is a day that Andrew’s torch is burning brighter than ever before. I know it, because I can feel it. I feel a greater sense of responsibility to continue this fight. I know in my heart that it will still burn in me, and it will still burn in everyone who stood next to him in the “scrum” until each of our last precious breaths.
I will miss Andrew, I am glad to have known you as a friend, I will carry out our cause and fight as you did until my last dying breath.
Today we all miss Andrew Breitbart, but we also know he never really left, he did become larger than life. And for those of you who haven’t yet, I hope you will join us, as Andrew said, “in the Scrum.”
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