The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Andrew Breitbart passed away of natural causes, at the tender age of 43. He leaves behind a wife and children. At this time I would like to offer my condolences to his family. It is a terrible thing to lose a loved one.
Breitbart first came to my attention after he edited a video of Agriculture Department worker Shirley Sherrod, in such a way as to make it appear that she was biased against White farmers. This kind of heinous action I was to discover, was quite typical of the man who spent much of his lifetime espousing conservative politics, aimed specifically to hurt marginalized people. I’m not happy that he is dead, but I will not engage in revisionism because he is.
Looking at twitter and several blog posts, there are pleas from some on the left that we treat his legacy with respect, as well as conservatives claiming that people are celebrating his passing. The legacy you end up with in death, is the legacy you create in life. I will agree that no one’s death should be celebrated, regardless of how bigoted or hurtful they have been in life, but I don’t think that death grants anyone a free pass from honest critique. No one should be deified when they pass on, because it erases the harm that they have caused, and the fact that there are still people who have to live with the consequences of their actions. Breitbart was well aware of the harm that his actions and language caused in his lifetime. He actively sought out notoriety, and I see no reason why this should not follow him in death.