I did not know Andrew Breitbart well, but I felt very much like I did. I could not claim that Andrew and I were friends...and yet I knew that we were.
When I heard Andrew for the first time, he was either a guest host or a guest on Dennis Miller's radio show. This was way before ACORN or Pigford or Shirley Sherrod or Anthony Wiener or Ricochet or any of that which followed. He talked about his family and his upbringing and his revelation regarding conservatism and his decision to step into the fight. I recall a story about being at work (at home.) His wife Susie had left him in charge of one of his toddler sons. He was deep into his work (for Drudge or Arianna?) when a neighbor called to tell him that his little son had left the house, crossed the street and arrived at his neighbor's front door. Of course when Andrew told it it was with great drama and simultaneous comedy. The story had a happy ending and taught a valuable lesson to young parents listening. He also described his home in LA and how he could look out his window to the nearby cemetery and see the graves of fallen soldiers. That was important to him because it reminded him of the great sacrifice which was made for him...and his family...and our Nation. I treasured those stories............and then we were smitten by Hillsdale College.
My husband and I met at Adrian College just down the road from Hillsdale about 1000 years ago. We were attending an Adrian reunion and decided to take the short drive and visit Hillsdale's campus. If you even do the same you will understand why Hillsdale is so unique....in fact we recently bought a home there, across the street from the Dean of Men.....but that's a story for another day.
We booked our first cruise ever, a Hillsdale Cruise, and found that along with spectacular speakers Mark Steyn and Stephen Hayes, a last minute program addition was Andrew Breitbart. By then ACORN was big news. We were sitting at the bar one evening and who should walk in but Andrew, accompanied by a close friend and Andrew's 10 year old son, dressed in a suit (his son.) It was then that I met Andrew. When I spotted him approaching, I jumped up and I practically tackled him right there and then. But he did not run away and stayed for quite a while.... I asked questions and he gave answers....and he asked me questions back. He told us that his wife had stayed home with the other three kids and so Andrew brought his oldest son along instead.
The next day at sea he was our speaker (in a wrinkled suit.) Not everyone knew who he was at the outset, but they certainly did at the end. He shared stories and more stories completely from memory. One of the things I recall was that he had his laptop in his backpack on stage with him and he confessed that he was going a bit crazy during his talk because he knew that he was missing something... some breaking news story....because he couldn't be on the internet and speak to us at the same time. He could not stop talking and really, none of us wanted him to, except perhaps Dr Arnn and Douglas Jeffrey.....so we moved out into the hallway to continue with Andrew. Later that afternoon he held an impromptu followup forum due to popular demand, and arrived in wrinkled cargo shorts and t-shirt. He never seemed to want to impress but rather to engage. Later I would see him again outside the dining room. I asked what would be the next BIG as Big Hollywood and Big Gov had already rolled out. He told me Big Peace and then Big Education. Today I read that BIG EDU was scheduled to debut this weekend. Can't wait!
We all have people in our lives who make an impact in ways we do not expect. I am a "tea party person" and because of leaders like Andrew, I have become a stronger advocate for what I believe. I plan to continue to advocate for America and to fight against "Ameritopia." Thanks Andrew.