This post is not just about the death of Andrew Breitbart but it begins there. No matter how he might be described someone will always take exception to what is written about him, such is the polarization that has taken place in 21st century America. Rather this post is about just that polarity and how it has descended into an abyss that’s liable to destroy this country aided by those other foreign or enemies.
Breitbart made a name for himself touting Republican conservative causes in a way that has become typical of today’s GOP; mean spirited, slanderous, character assassination, guttural proclamations that neither reveal nor make clear but rather obfuscate and exacerbate. He joined the chorus of those who want to pit one group of Americans against another for a political gain that benefited special interests but not the entire American fabric. He took great delight in today’s in-your-face style of political confrontation when he was the one who confronted, but not very happy with that style of discourse when he was confronted.
When I heard of his passing, I thought about all these characteristics that made the man and despite them still could not take pleasure or “gloat” as it were in his death. I reserve that only for those who commit atrocities on the order of mass murder live long lives and publicly relish their desecration of humanity until the second they die. As far as I know Breitbart, albeit a grandstanding demagogue, didn’t fit that mold so he escaped my condemnation, and I tweeted as much upon hearing the news of his death.
Juan Cole’s, Informed Comment, a suitable title for this particular story on Breitbart put things in perspective here where he neither deifies nor vilifies Breitbart but does accurately describe what it is he did in his relatively short life on the public stage. I knew those things about him, that he was a con man a huckster, a liar and a cheat, but didn’t want to speak ill of him. It is an American tradition not to speak badly about those who are dead. One blogger, The Erstwhile Conservative that I read regularly remarked he didn’t want to ‘become what it is he doesn’t like’, and I understand that sentiment and agree. However, I was smacked back down to reality when I read this article that Cole linked to in his post above where Breitbart remarked upon the death of Ted Kennedy that Kennedy was a villain, a duplicitous bastard, a prick mixed with other choice words for the Senator. So much for speaking ill about the dead; such language was the trademark of Breitbart, it marked his tenor and in fact the modus operandi of people from the “Right”.
There is a ray of hope however in the news of Breitbart’s death and that comes from one of his victims, Shirley Sherrod, who was falsely maligned by Breitbart, the Obama Administration and many in America because of our habit of pitting one group of people against another…..black vs. white, Jew vs. Gentile (and particularly Muslim Gentile), male vs female. Sherrod, an African-American Department of Agriculture employee was featured in a video segment highlighted by Breitbart and portrayed as a insensitive government bureaucrat who refused to do her job and help a white farmer. The problem was that perception fueled by Breitbart’s edited video wasn’t even close to reality but it was only after Sherrod had been fired from her job and her reputation in the national community maliciously sullied that the truth was known. In today’s America, we shoot first and ask questions later, or we ‘kill them all and let God sort it out’…..we cliche ourselves into oblivion and in the process ruin lives of noble, decent people like Sherrod. It was this victim of the deceased Breitbart’s way of doing things that restored my faith in humanity with two simple sentences about his death
The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning. My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time.
Maybe it’s me, but that seems, coming from a real victim to be almost Christ like….Christian. Sure, many have said the same thing, but very few if any of them were at the receiving end of Breitbart’s spear in the gut, his malicious assassination (character) that happened to Sherrod, yet while in the throes of her torment (she’s still pursuing a law suit against Breitbart) she was able to make a plea on behalf of his family and NOT speak ill of the dead father/husband/son. That’s the American spirit we are sorely missing in today’s discourse. Notice who’s leading the way in bringing it back America………..