Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can't rejoice in another's death

Conservative activist and blogger Andrew Breitbart has died at an amazingly young age, 43, and many liberal Facebook and Twitter commenters are proclaiming this news with joy. It reminds me of the day that Osama bin Laden was killed...Facebook lit up with people rejoicing. It's no better than Rick Santorum's nasty comments about Whitney Houston's death, or the Westboro Baptist church people using soldiers' funerals to spout their hateful speech.

I cannot rejoice in another person's death, no matter how vile or hateful (or in bin Laden's case, evil) that person may be. When I spoke similar words on Facebook after bin Laden's death (I am not unhappy, but I cannot rejoice in another's death), some of my conservative Facebook friends became fairly aggrieved with me...and no doubt believed I was being unpatriotic.

I must be honest...I'm sadder at the passing of Davy Jones than I am about Andrew Breitbart, mostly because of nostalgia. I'm sadder that Whitney Houston died at the prime of her life than a person who spent his time vilifying liberals and sowing the seeds of dissension.

But. Breitbart left behind a wife and four small children. He leaves behind people who grieve. Famous liberal Arianna Huffington (who defended the Huffington Post's decision to keep Breitbart's writing on the site) wrote about Breitbart:
"I was asked many times this morning for my thoughts on what Andrew meant to the political world, but all I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together -- his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I'm thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now."

Even Shirley Herrod, whose career was destroyed by Breitbart, spoke condolescences:
"The news of Mr. Breitbart's death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning," she said. "My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart's family as they cope through this very difficult time."

Not all liberals rejoiced. SiliconKossack wrote about his ambivalence on the liberal blog, The Daily Kos:

"At a moment like this, we can say that one of our most disturbing political opponents is gone from the scene. We can choose to villify him, as he did of Ted Kennedy immediately after his passing...But I would like to think that most of us will not sink to that level of behavior. We have an opportunity to build a movement that uplifts and inspires others--a movement that will truly represent the 99% of Americans and people the world over--or slash and trash our opponents, thus giving even more inspiration to the new Andrew Breitbarts who will take up his fight...I refuse to demonize him, particularly at this moment, because it demeans me as a human being and retards the growth of our progressive cause."
Jesus forgave and showed mercy to the greatest sinners, even the Romans who hung him on a cross. As a Christian, I am called to show mercy and forgiveness. And if that does not apply, there's karma.

I've seen many comments about karma getting Breitbart in the end. I can't say I'm surprised that someone so young and at the prime of his life would die at such a young age. Hate and anger age a person. But if people say karma got Breitbart in the end, what does it say about the people who are rejoicing in his death? You get what you give out.


  1. This is wonderful, Marie. I am a true believer in the idea that we're all connected. Hate affects all of us, resonates throughout everything. Some conservative Christians need to revisit the teachings of Jesus who believed in loving your neighbor (not just your best buds, family, or close friends) as yourself. That means everyone. A hard lesson for us all, I know. But it starts with eliminating the joy over another's death no matter how despised they were.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Susan. (After I wrote this post, I read that some conservatives are claiming that President Obama killed Breitbart!)

    It's nice to know I'm not the only one out there not jumping for joy when someone dies. We seem to view the world in a similar way!