“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” These words, famously spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” struck me on the morning of March 1 while I was obsessively clicking the refresh button on my computer. I passionately hoped that perpetually restoring my Google Chrome browser would eventually produce a different result.
However, this truly was a case of desperate insanity. I finally accepted the horrible news I had discovered plastered all over the Internet. Conservative icon Andrew Breitbart passed away on Feb. 29, 2012 at the age of 43. Part of me still expects him to emerge in a month to proclaim “April Fools, America.” However, this is nothing but a pipe dream. Yet, while the blogging world mourns Breitbart’s death, his legacy is not forgotten. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his cause is in fact stronger than ever.
After I came to terms with the death of my favorite conservative blogger, I surfed Twitter, hoping to find solace in the microcosm of political thought and opinionated one-liners. At first, I was not disappointed. My Twitter feed quickly exploded with heartfelt remembrances and witty tributes. Rush Limbaugh called Breitbart a “bulldog for the conservative cause,” and Rick Perry tweeted, “RIP O’ Mighty Warrior.”
Even many of Breitbart’s political adversaries had kind words for the late pundit. Ari Rabin-Havt of the liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America said the following: “We’ve disagreed more than we’ve found common ground, but there was never any question of Andrew’s passion for and commitment to what he believed.” It warmed my heart to see such an outpouring of positive sentiments. However, my warm response quickly turned into icy anger as I read on.
While many celebrated Andrew Breitbart’s life and career, countless others found joy in his death. Twitter and other social media sites displayed comments from online left-leaning trolls searching for an outlet for their hypocritical intolerance. Phrases like
, “Andrew Breitbart died doing what he loved. Not having a heart” and “They say Andrew Breitbart died of natural causes. Sure, that having that much evil inside you will almost naturally kill you” flooded the Internet.
However, the “celebrations” did not stop at the virtual borders of Twitterland. “Rolling Stone” quickly posted a column
expressing joy at Breitbart’s passing. The “Daily Kos” suggested
that Westboro Baptist Church picket his funeral. However, despite the outpouring of hatred from the left, Andrew Breitbart’s resolute example of tenacity and fearlessness echoed throughout the conservative movement.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from Andrew Breitbart, it’s that you can never, ever back down, even in the face of blatant hatred. Soon after Breitbart’s critics surfaced in full force, conservatives found back, hard. Breitbart was famous for re-tweeting his critics, especially the vilest ones. Following Breitbart’s passing, conservatives took on that responsibility. Soon, my Twitter feed was no longer filled with tweets from well-wishers. Instead, twitter was flooded with re-tweets exposing the hateful commentaries made about Breitbart’s death.
When it comes to exposing liberal intolerance, Andrew Breitbart was at the forefront. Yet, that cause did not falter after his death. Conservatives took on Breitbart’s mantle and made the cause that much stronger.
Andrew Breitbart was truly a “Jedi for the Conservative Cause.” Like his Star Wars counterparts, he was sometimes viewed as odd, off-kilter or just plain crazy. However, Breitbart’s passionate mission to expose the intolerant liberal agenda lives on. Andrew Breitbart may be gone, but his legacy will continue through all of us. He truly is now more powerful than anyone could ever imagine. That strength rests in the efforts of Breitbart’s conservative supporters, many of whom are now using the #IamAndrewBreitbart hashtag on Twitter. It’s now up to us to memorialize him by making his mission our own.
Andrew Breitbart may have passed on, but his passion is stronger than ever in the collective conservative conscience. Even in death, he has liberals shaking in their boots (Just wait until his videos of Obama’s college days are released in the next week). (Editor’s Note: one such video has since been released by BuzzFeed.) Yet, now that he’s gone, it’s time for the conservative blogging community to pick up where he left off. We are all Andrew Breitbart now.