I do not lament in the death of anyone. It is a natural part of life that will eventually happen to me, and I know I wouldn’t want anyone to dig through my past when I’m dead and be remembered for all the bad things I’ve done during my short period of cognition. That being said, I have never enabled a child rapist, or lied and caused people to lose their jobs during a time of global economic hardship.
What I do believe is that we should look at the lives of those who have past and learn honest, truthful lessons from the legacy they left behind. Life is short. Some people don’t want to be remembered at all when they die, but very few want to leave a tarnished legacy where your good deeds are overshadowed by one or a series of bad judgments.
I found out about the death of Andrew Breitbart this morning on Reddit. One of the first comments I read, said:
I don’t believe it because it was on a Breitbart website.
I must admit, I didn’t believe it either. I wasn’t the only person in this world that wouldn’t put it past him to troll his own death. He was probably the biggest troll in the entire world, and I’m not being hyperbolic. So, I did a search on Google News and found this article at the top of the headlines for search term ‘Andrew Breitbart’.
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger whose posting of a sexually explicit photo of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner led to the congressman’s downfall, has died, his attorney confirmed Thursday.
That was the first paragraph of the article. Breitbart’s biggest legacy is that he found some dick pics of a U.S. Congressman, which led to his resign. We can argue all day on whether or not this is really an issue to lose your elected position over, but the fact remains that this is the first line most people will read when they learn of his death, and as long as he is remembered in history books, this is what he will be known for. CNN was being nice to his family by using Anthony Weiner’s cock as the primary deed of his legacy. There is a lot else that he will be known for, and it’s all a lot more negative.
In 2008, amid Republican desperation leading up to the November election, Andrew Breitbart ran a story on his website about a woman who was allegedly assaulted by a black man, who carved a B in her forehead. If the lack of evidence, or even a good description of the perpetrator, besides his skin color, wasn’t enough of an indicator to tread lightly on this story, the fact that the B was carved in her head backwards should have been a dead giveaway. Andrew Breitbart, much like the Honeybadger, didn’t give a shit, and ran the story anyways, hoping to scare white America into believing that electing a black man would bring about a sense of entitlement among the black community, that would result in more violence.
Believe me, he wasn’t alone in this sentiment. I worked on the Obama campaign, and canvassed for him in neighborhoods in Detroit and Cleveland where I was often shocked by how overtly racist people were. On more than one occasion, a person answered the door only to say “I’m not voting for that n-word” and slammed the door in my face. (Keep in mind, this is one of the most notoriously racist neighborhoods in the Detroit area, I am not generalizing this attitude for the entirety of Metro Detroit) In Ohio, however, racism was a bit more subtle, but I was told on a few different occasions that they were not sure about voting for Obama because they were afraid of how the black community would react to it. Fears like these are perpetuated by people like Andrew Breitbart.
Shortly after Obama was elected, Breitbart led a sting operation in which a “pimp” and his “ho” went into an Acorn office to try to get legal assistance. They were not taken seriously, and the Acorn representatives, realizing it was a joke, played along with it a bit for fun. The hidden camera footage that was captured during this operation was heavily edited by Breitbart to make it look like the Acorn office was trying to help them launder money and enslave children. The Acorn office was shut down. Not only did the people in that office lose their jobs, but a community service was lost that helped people get legitimate legal service, register to vote and affordable health care, among other things.
Not much longer after this incident, Breitbart put his video editing skills to work again to doctor a speech made by Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, Shirley Sherrod, to the NAACP, to make it look like she was racist against white people, leaving out the part where she admitted the lessons she learned from her experience. It was a blatant fabrication that caused her to lose her job. The act, in and of itself, was racist, and left probably one of the biggest scars on Breitbart’s legacy.
Then there was that one time when he wasn’t lying, when he uncovered sexually explicit photos of a congressman’s penis that he had sent to a woman online. At this point, it was a classic case of the boy who cried wolf. The press didn’t really believe the photos were actually of Anthony Wiener until he admitted it publicly. Wiener probably would have been able to escape the embarrassment of having to resign, had he admitted it was him from the beginning, but Breitbart lamented in the fact that for once, he had finally caused a Democrat to resign.
Breitbart’s chicanery led him to lose many jobs, and while he had achieved his goal of being hated by the “liberal media”, his time as a considered threat was short-lived after losing all of his credibility. In the end, we can’t even say he was a journalist. He was many things: a liar, a race-baiter, a hate-monger and a general asshole, but to call him a journalist, or even a blogger, would be an insult to real journalists and bloggers.
I only hope that he was a good father and a good husband to his wife. I’m not going to give credence to anything that says otherwise, because his family has not indicated otherwise. But really, that’s none of our business, and to spread rumors that he was secretly gay would only serve to stoop to his level.
We can all learn a great lesson by looking back at the legacies of people who have polluted our news feeds and crowded our timelines over the years. As I said before, life is short. Think about what you are doing right now, (this includes me writing this piece) and think about if this is something you want to be remembered for. Andrew Breitbart was only 43 years old, and his cause of death is currently unknown. It just goes to show that your life can end in a split second, and we should be living every day like there is no tomorrow.