**A Post by Shifra**
[Friday, March 1st, is the year anniversary of Andrew’s passing.]

I suppose I should tell you, right off the bat, that I never actually met Andrew Breitbart.

And, truth be told, for a long time, I did not pay much attention to him.

But, one day, several years ago, I saw a short video of Andrew, confronting a hostile crowd.

And then I realized, for the first time, how absolutely extraordinary he was.

I want to tell you what I saw in Andrew.

But to do so, I will first tell you an incident that happened twenty-seven years ago.

That was the year of my clinical internship, at a NYC hospital, in an inpatient psychiatric unit. My clinical supervisor was Dr. T., a well-known Manhattan psychoanalyst. (Dr. T. was a real Freudian; at staff meetings, whenever I would crack a joke, everyone would laugh, except Dr. T — he would just look at me. I had the distinct feeling that he was “analyzing” my jokes. I was tempted to tell him, “Hey, Dr. T., sometimes a joke is just a joke,” but I was afraid he would analyze that as well.)

One day, I got a message from Dr. T. “I am starting a new inpatient group. You will be my co-leader. Monday morning, 11:00. Don’t be late.”

Although I have never been a big fan of group therapy, the nurses on the unit assured me, “You are so lucky Dr. T. chose you. It will be an amazing experience.”

And so, at precisely 11:00 on Monday morning (if I had been a few minutes late, Dr. T. might have analyzed my “resistance” to group therapy) I took a seat in the group therapy room, where the chairs had been arranged in a circle. Some of the patients shuffled in on their own. Some were gently “dragged” in by the nurses.

And then, in walked Charlie, the “terror” of the unit.

Charlie was loud and obnoxious. He seemed to delight in irritating the staff. Which he did quite well, it seemed, pretty much non-stop.

Charlie looked around the room, and he sat down. Then, just to make sure everyone was watching, he grunted loudly, and proceeded to take off his shoes and socks. Then, he stuck his bare feet out, into the center of the circle.

The room erupted in laughter and shouts of “ewwww!!!”

I was upset. I thought, “The group hadn’t even started yet (but of course it had; a newbie’s mistake) and it’s already chaotic.”

I looked at Dr. T. He did not look upset. He did not look amused. He just looked at Charlie.

“Charlie,” said Dr. T. “put your socks and shoes back on.”

Charlie grinned.

“No!” he shouted.

Dr. T. repeated his request, in a calm voice.

“Charlie, put your socks and shoes back on. N-o-w!”

Charlie looked thrilled.

“NO!” he shouted at Dr. T. “IF YOU DON’T MIND, I NEED TO AIR MY FEET!”

Without missing a beat, Dr. T. responded:

“Charlie, we are here to air our feelings, *not* our feet.”

“Great,” I thought. “Dr. T had walked right into a power struggle with Charlie. We will spend the next hour trying to get him to put on his socks and shoes.”

But here’s what happened:

Charlie looked stunned.

Then he quietly put his socks and shoes on.

Dr. T. introduced himself, and me, to the group. He explained that we would be meeting every day at this time, and he encouraged people to talk about why they had been hospitalized.

He then turned to one of the patients:

“Mary,” he asked, “please tell us what brought you to the hospital.”

“Ok,” I thought, “Dr. T. is ‘losing it.’” Mary had not said a word for the week she had already been on the unit. She had a blank stare, and seemed very “out of it.” I thought maybe she was deaf.

To my utter astonishment, Mary actually spoke.

“I’m in the hospital because of my legs.”

“Your legs?” asked Dr. T.

“Yes, I can’t walk.”

“But, Mary, I saw you walk into the room. And, this is a psychiatric unit, not an orthopedic unit.”

“Yes,” I know,” she said. “What I meant was: I have trouble ‘functioning’ in the outside world. Here, I feel safe.”

Several other patients spoke. Including Charlie, who talked about how he hated feeling “dead” on the meds he was supposed to take, but when he did not take his meds, he would have manic episodes, which made him feel totally out of control.

An interesting hour, indeed.

Now I want to tell you about Andrew. Here is the clip I watched, several years ago.

At first, I thought, “This Breitbart guy is nuts. Why in the world would he wade into a hostile crowd?”

But something quite amazing happened. At 6:01, one of the protestors apologizes to Andrew. And then, at 7:00, a woman finally acknowledges what Andrew had wanted to hear.

What made these two protestors speak to Andrew so openly? Or, an even better question:

What was it about Andrew that made them open up to him?

It has been said that Andrew loved a good fight. (Unlike many of us, including me, who find these confrontations upsetting and stomach-churning.)

But I think it was more than that.

I think it was that although Andrew hated the Left for their lies and hypocrisy, it was never personal. I think he appreciated, and respected, our shared humanity.

And that is what drew these two individuals to Andrew. Much like the patients in Dr. T’s group, they understood that although they were being challenged, it was not about being personally attacked. It was about seeking truth.

I am so sorry that I will never meet Andrew Breitbart.

I would have loved to talk to him.

And I think he would have loved the story about Charlie and the inpatient unit.

I can almost imagine Andrew throwing his head back and laughing.

It is now a year since Andrew’s passing.

And I know that he was adopted and raised by a Jewish family.

According to Jewish tradition, the first anniversary of a person’s death is an important spiritual event.

‘Y’hee zichro baruch’ – May his memory be blessed.

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42 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. LJZumpano says:

    ‘Y’hee zichro baruch’ – May his memory be blessed.

    Yes. our shared humanity. It is not us verus them, it has to be us. That is the only way it can work. I think you are right. I think Andrew understood that. I think that is what BHO fails to see or acknowledge. For our POTUS it is always about pitting one group against another. The result is chaos. Andrew managed to see beneath the surface, and to make connections.
    I recall hearing about a meeting between DeGaulle and the pope. Two men who were complete opposites, who had nothing in common. It began very quietly, but in the room by a window was a vase filled with lovely red roses. The pope began the conversation by commenting on the beauty of the flowers. De Gaulle agreed with him, and so the ice was broken and a dialogue began.
    Recently I saw some old clips of William F. Buckley talking to liberals and answering questions from a teenaged audience. The liberals said some really stupid things, but Buckley sat there, totally unpertubed, and answered with wit and humor. You couldn’t help but smile.
    Andrew was known for his passion. His strong stand and unbending firmness when confronted. He never wimped out and he challenged the pre-conceptions of those who were not used to being called upon to explain themselves. He forced folks to think about what they were saying. To back up their arguments. To see how empty their slogans were. Yet he didn’t do it to shame them, to mock their ignorance, but only to get them to see the emptiness of what they were saying. He sought to bring out the humanity we all share.
    We are all so different, and have such different ways of acting, yet beneath it all, we have a shared humanity, and Andrew knew exactly how to bring that out.
    TAMs are an example of that. We are all strongly opinionated people, yet rather than struggle and fight about where we differ, we have decided it is more important to be US, and focus on that shared humanity, together, as Americans.

  2. suede123 says:

    Great post Shifra. When I first started reading it, I thought you were describing Tammy. Because, that’s why I’m a tam. Tammy makes me feel the same way as Andrew does. Hence, that’s why I’m a tam. OMG listen to me, Tam I Am.
    actually. my subscripton just ended. I thought at work today, re-up, or save the money. (like tammy is an expensive date!)
    then I read your post. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere. I learn so much here. So, schools in session, and I’m sitting at my desk.
    Mike in missouri

  3. Lin says:

    Poignant, thought-provoking post as usual Shifra.
    The quest for truth… not mine or yours, left or right, gay or straight… etc…
    What an incredible concept.
    Andrew “got it”! My late husband did as well.
    There are just some folks who, although their tenure on earth might be brief, have a profound and enduring impact on humanity.
    Thank you for your post.

    • Shifra says:

      As I’ve said before, the best part of posting on Tammy’s blog is getting such moving responses, such as yours. Thanks.

      And Suede123, glad you are still on board! 🙂

  4. rosebud2186 says:

    Things would certainly be more interesting if Andrew were still leading….thanks Shifra. : )

  5. omegaman says:

    May God Bless America, and God Bless Andrew Breitbart, a True American Patriot ! RIP Andrew.

  6. 1ntbtn says:

    Thanks for this post Shifra, Andrew had a lot to offer, died way to young and is very much missed.

    • ancientwrrior says:

      Rejoice, for Andrew completed his mission on this earth. He planted the seeds of truth for us to gather and grow with. We are reaping what he sowed, thank you my brother Andrew. May we also follow in his footsteps and keep planting the seeds of truth for others to reap.

  7. suede123 says:

    WOW. maybe I have to rethink my prior statement as to, why I’m a Tam.
    Its because, I just listened to Tammy, describe her DREAM. That’s why I’m a Tam.

  8. otlset says:

    Breitbart was no hero to the White House you know Shifra. I hope you don’t end up regretting this.

  9. Kitten says:

    Wow, just wow. What a very moving tribute, Shifra.

  10. LucyLadley says:

    Seeing this Breitbart clip gives me great feelings of American Pride. How fortunate we are to have lived in the moment that such a Great Patriot was alive. He set an example for us that is awe inspiring, in the same way the forefathers of our country inspired our ancestors & still inspire us today. Andrew Breitbart, understood why he loved our country! He was a historical example of what an American Patriot should be.
    Shifra, thank you for this commemorative post!

  11. Maynard says:

    Thanks, Shifra. I struggle with this stuff too. I want to make things run smoothly, and to evade nastiness. I’d rather avoid politics entirely, because it’s dominated by the games of intimidation that make me sick. I’d rather pay my tribute to Caesar and go home and never think of it until the next tribute.

    We used to be able to do that. Problem is, Caesar has lately gone mad. He is no longer satisfied by mere tribute. Caesar wants it all. Money. Control. Power of life or death. Power to reach into the most intimate areas of our lives and manage our affairs. Caesar has set us on a path to destruction. We can no longer just shrug and go along.

    Breitbart was an inspiration. He is missed.

  12. Maynard says:

    Upon reflection, it’s not surprising that Dr. T. was humorless. Humor is the thing that saves us when we can’t face reality. Below the surface of all humor is tragedy. Dissect anything “funny” and you’ll see what I mean. Freud understood that humor alleviated the conflict when we found ourselves on the wrong side of taboo.

    In sum, we wouldn’t need humor if life didn’t go awry.

    So your Dr. T. didn’t have humor because he didn’t need humor. He plowed straight ahead, staying on target, not allowing obstacles to derail him.

    It would be nice to be able to do that. I haven’t managed it yet. I can keep my own task on track, but I can’t keep people on track.

    Is this a learned skill or a temperament that we’re born with? Or some of both. I wonder.

    • Shifra says:

      It wasn’t that Dr. T was humorless, actually. Far from it. He and his wife traveled extensively, it seemed he knew the best restaurants in *every* city in the world, he spoke six languages, all fluently, he was a great dancer, and had an amazing fashion-sense and wardrobe. (Btw, he is very much alive, and here I am, talking about him in the past tense…. hmmm)

      It’s just that he saw “the unconscious” in so many things. Freudians are like that. They just can’t help themselves, sometimes 🙂

  13. dcor17 says:

    Thanks for this post Shifra. What a great man Andrew was and how lucky we were to have him. Fortunately his spirit lives on through the likes of Tammy, Ben Shapiro, and so many other brilliant conservatives who give the rest of us a voice.

  14. Dave says:

    Never allow them to steal your joy.

  15. Alain41 says:

    Thanks Shifra. I miss Andrew. I saw/heard Andrew speak just 2 or 3 times. The first time I saw him, I didn’t know anything about him, but I saw his scruffy beard, sunglasses on his head, general unkempt look, and thought, so there is a bar backstage. Then I heard him speak and I thought, and he’s the bartender. And then I listened more and thought, and I and everyone else want to sit at his bar and sip our drink, and we’ll be happy at his bar.

  16. flaggman says:

    Shifra, I believe Andrew was an American prophet (maybe not literally, but figuratively). He lived with righteous indignation, he was unrelenting, he used all manner of methods (bizarre and otherwise) to propagate his message and his warnings, he was tireless, he made sacrifices of himself and his family for the cause, he led countless followers towards the right path – and now he lives on forever.

  17. midget says:

    Thanks Shifra. Before I heard Andrew speak on C-Span,I was instantly drawn to his face. He reminded me of what I think Moses looked like. And then when he began to cry because of how Clarence Thomas was unfairly treated (Although he admitted he watched to see his a$$ get kicked), I thought “I LOVE this guy”. His whole history of liberalism crashed down because he was able to feel someones pain. Never meeting doesnt mean never knowing. We all share that part of him that will never die.”Y’hee zichro baruch”

  18. pamelarice says:

    He was here but for a day. “Y’hee zichro baruch” – May his memory be blessed.

  19. Patricia says:

    Thank you Shifra for this post. We miss him and God knows, need his bravery and tireless commitment to our country. Thank God we have Tammy to continue with the message that America is exceptional and the best hope for our world and we must get her back on track.

    His mother passed away just a few days before the anniversary of his untimely death. From Breitbart.com: In Memoriam: Arlene Mae Breitbart, 1925-2013 With great sadness we announce the passing of Arlene Mae Breitbart, wife of Gerald Breitbart, mother of Andrew and his sister Tracey, and grandmother of seven terrific grandchildren.

    Arlene passed away from natural causes yesterday in Los Angeles, two days shy of the one-year anniversary of the unexpected death of her beloved son, Andrew.

    Arlene was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was also a pioneer, having been the first female trust officer made vice president at Bank of America.

    Our thoughts, love and prayers are with the entire Breitbart family.
    – See more at: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/28/In-Memoriam-Arlene-Mae-Breitbart#sthash.HFXf4aV1.dpuf

    • Shifra says:

      Thanks for posting this, Patricia. I did not know this. So sad…

      TAMS, thanks for all your comments. Much appreciated 🙂

    • Alain41 says:

      RIP, Mrs. Breitbart.

      Her middle name Mae was from a different era. My maternal grandmother’s name was May. Re Mae; I will take this place (probably inappropriately) to inform Tammy that the actress who got the grapefruit in the face from Jimmy Cagney was Mae Clarke. She appeared in over 50 films and was on General Hospital’s early years.

      “Mae Clarke was an American actress most noted for playing Frankenstein’s bride, chased by Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, and for having a grapefruit smashed into her face by James Cagney in The Public Enemy, both released in 1931….The film was so popular that it ran 24 hours a day at a theatre in Times Square upon its initial release, and Clarke’s ex-husband had the grapefruit scene timed and would frequently buy a ticket, enter the theatre to enjoy that sequence, then leave the theatre….”


  20. Rob_W says:

    Thank you, Shifra. I cannot remember any other time in my life being so affected by the loss of a public figure. It was as though I had lost one of my dearest friends. Andrew was that compelling. Tammy, may God grant you comfort and strength, and to us all.

    Y’hee zichro baruch

  21. bamconola says:

    Great post Shifra. I always enjoy your insight. We have lost so many souls these past few years and just heard Andrew’s mom passed away yesterday. My prayers to his family .

  22. Chuck says:

    Nice post Shifra. Thanks for sharing.

  23. vitadMD says:

    Dear Shifra,
    Beautifully done… Tearfully I thank you, my friend. You are also a truly unique, creative, insightful and inspiring individual. If only there were a larger venue in which more people could be reached by people like you and Andrew Breitbart.

  24. SmartGirlJen says:

    St. Louis was my first Smart Girl Summit and the first time I met any Smart Girls outside of the Arizona. I was so excited when I arrived that he was going to be speaking unexpectedly. He was supposed to speak, but it never got confirmed and had fallen through the cracks. When Andrew, realized the mistake, he drove down to St. Louis from his family vacation in Michigan to support Smart Girl Politics. I had met him before in Tucson when he came to support the Tea Partiers there that had been under attack, and I was thrilled to be able to hear him speak again. The beauty of SGS is the accessibility. Yes, he was a speaker, but it seemed like we ran into him, and his son Samson, everywhere that weekend, and they were just nice, normal people. After the awards banquet, when I was going to get a picture of him, I kind of made a fool of myself trying to get my husband’s attention (he was chatting in the back of the room), because my husband is a huge fan and I wanted him in the picture.

    It seems like the right was drifted and fallen into infighting since he passed. Yes, he was a fighter against posers and fakes, but he understood the importance of having the backs of other conservatives, even if you don’t agree 100%.

    What really hit home for me was when we said that his litmus test was asking conservatives their thoughts about Sarah Palin. He made it clear that this was not an endorsement, but those who trashed her were people he would not want to be in a foxhole with in this war. It made me look at myself and question if I was the kind of person other conservatives would want in their foxhole and changed my whole perspective. He moved the ball with humor and fierce determination, and he motivated a generation of young conservatives that are still fighting the fight. We was truly exceptional, and his death was devastating.

  25. shellym says:

    I missed the chance to see/hear Andrew Breitbart at the Smart Girl Summit in St. Louis, where I live; it’s something that I regret immensely.

    However, we are all blessed with his enduring words and fighting spirit.

    My condolences to Tammy and all who knew and loved him dearly.

  26. jmckay53 says:

    That was amazing to watch. He was reaching out to those people in an effort to connect with them. He was also exposing the union manufactured protest too, but you could tell he wanted to get his message across to those deluded people. Thank you for sharing this wonderful view of Andrew.

  27. jeaneeinabottle says:

    I love your posts Shifra, thank you. Andrew gave me/us courage and comfort, I wasn’t alone. On Twitter he loved the fight and they attacked him all the time, he fought them with humor and truth. I always called him our Angel Warrior, he defended Gov Palin when no one else seemed to, he helped build an army, it was fantastic! What touched me about him, I knew he would do it for any one of us>that’s what it was, I/we knew he would too. I still miss him and the tears still flow, some happy some sad. God bless you Angel Warrior forever 🙂

  28. […] highlight, since many of her great posts on Tammy’s site are an inspiration for my own work (check out the one on the anniversary of Andrew Breitbart’s death for an exmaple). Her comments about the California weather and friendliness of the people she met here took the […]

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