March 1st, 2012
03:27 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Compassion, politics strange bedfellows after Breitbart's death

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"RIP. When anyone dies at such a young age leaving behind a wife and four children, the decent thing to do is show some respect, and say a prayer for his family, regardless of whether you are a 'right-wing nut job' or a 'radical looney leftist.' "
–MidwestDude

One could be fairly safe in saying that Andrew Breitbart, 43, was a polarizing figure for our readers. The conservative blogger was first to post a very personal photo of Anthony Weiner, and had gotten involved in a number of past controversies. And yet, he also might have brought people a little closer together.

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart dies at 43

Skim the comments and you can find a fiery debate, but you'll also see plenty of readers who pondered broader questions. How do you talk about someone after they die, and does it matter if you agree? This was the most-liked post:

Xgirl360: "I'm an unapologetic liberal. I couldn't stand this man. That being said, wow, 43 is way to young for anyone to die. I feel for his family and hope they will find comfort in their friends and loved ones. Those of you delighting in his death should be ashamed of yourselves."

This person, on the other hand, expressed their condolences from a different point of view.

Gregory Smith: "He was a true American and he loved this country and wanted everyone to be treated equally. He will be missed, he tryed to point out the inequities of the liberal press and the Democratic Party. By most of these comments here will prove how hateful people can be. Long live conservatism."

Some readers said tough talk is almost inevitable, whichever side you are on. And yet they also talked about how to disagree.

FatherofLies: "I love the indignation of conservative posters. Indeed, the response from some liberals about this man's death is loathsome but I am absolutely certain that if Michael Moore had passed away there would be a carbon copy response from the right. To deny that likelihood is to be blinded by one's own politics."

allardkent: "One should never feel good about the suffering of others. This is a difficult and terrible time for his family. I didn't know Brietbart, for all I know he was a decent guy. Still, the glee he took in destroying others, the way he twisted the facts and cost an altruistic person (Shirley Sherrod) her job in order to score ideological points, made me question the man's spirit. It's terrible that a person died so young, terrible for commenters to take satisfaction in his death, but it is also foolish to make him into something he wasn't. This guy was filled with contempt for people who did not have his ideological point of view, he looked at people who differed from him on abstractions as evil, and this is a reality that did not flatter him. Like the people who are posting such awful comments, he didn't learn that it is possible to disagree without hate. If you are looking for the political and personal high road, getting satisfaction out of death is a sure way to miss it."

This person, and several others, implied or flatly said they do not feel obligated to speak well of Breitbart.

wallster: "When you're a nice, decent person, people will write nice, decent things about you. If you were a mean-spirited person, they will only write mean-spirited comments about you. This is just how it works."

But this commenter added a bit of nuance.

angel611: "Being glad the fool is no longer spewing hate and lies is not the same as being glad he is dead. I think most people are glad he can no longer destroy people, not glad that he died. He's dead, we can't bring him back, so admitting the truth will not harm him. There is a difference."

There were several readers expressing views from the right.

gcf1965: "Someone who made it his life's work to expose deceit and corruption, but since it was primarily aimed and exposing the left, he was 'evil' and 'vile.' Got to love the tolerance of the liberal left and their hate of anything that disagrees with their destructiove ideas and agendas. Liberalism is a cancer and needs to be eradicated."

And we also heard from the center and left.

scott_lewis: "Moderate guy here. Not happy someone died but people like Breitbart have really lowered the level of political discourse in this country. Someone else will take his place in churning out the hate politics."

This commenter didn't mince words.

Churchlady320: "Breitbart's death is a loss to a few, but it relieves democracy of a 'truth teller' who did no such thing. His posts were almost always designed to tell falsehoods. His 'story' about ACORN has been proven once again to be untrue - a point overlooked here. When people cross lines from reporting to distorting, democracy suffers. If you have information, should it not stand on its own? If you have to selectively edit, then you have no story. Propaganda is not in the best interests of democracy ever. Breitbart left a legacy of nastiness, distortion, outright lies. That is not something of which he or society should be proud."

But beyond all the politics, there were those who were reminded of their own health, and maybe even their own mortality.

Boehners_Teardrops: "The hell? At 43? Damn, I better start jogging and get some status on my arteries ..."

What do you think about Breitbart's death? Have you ever had to reconcile complex feelings about a person who has died? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    I don't pay too much attention to professional politicians, clergy or critics ......on the left or right. My philosophy is you can't really know that anything stinks unless you are knee deep in it! That aside, it's too bad Mr Breitbart didn't get a chance to mellow with age. RIP!

    March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. @CNN

    How about an update on the 9/11 victim's lawsuits? Last i heard, there are still 21 unsettled cases. Who are the victim's naming in their lawsuits? What lawfirm is opposing them? Why have these cases been dragged-out for over 10 years? Etc, etc, etc.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Rick

    Hate the world, and don't be surprised that the world hates you back.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. citizen

    Passion and commitment matters. For better or worse as Jim Morrison said " no one here gets out alive "
    So as a tribute let me just say that Romney replaced good jobs with low paying jobs. He wants to continue subsidies for oil companies. He wanted to wage holy war on Afghanistan ans Iran. He only wants an elite subset of Americans to have access to health care.
    Hey Romney buddy, we have already seen how showering the wealthy with cash lifts only the mega yachts.
    For your dumbness you will lose the election. Even after spending millions and millions on negative adds.
    It's OK. You can console yourself with the fortune provided you by the hard work of others.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tesra Wilks

    The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence. Regarded as determining the person's destiny. Action seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, GOOD or BAD. Either in this life or in a reincarnation.......KARMA

    GALATIANS 6:7

    March 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. banasy©

    Since the comments seem to be about whatever one wants, let me say this:

    Happy 1st birthday, Princess Butterbean.
    One door closes; another opens.

    March 2, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Chris

    Rightwing people don't give respect, so they should get none either in life or in death.

    March 2, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ancient Texan

    I've seen lots of vile, mean comments made about the deceased and wonder what is gained by them. If Chris Matthews should pass away, I don't think those from the right would be as disrespectful as we've seen with Breitbart.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      Seriously?
      I read more vitriolic hatred for Obama every day, and the man is still *alive*!

      March 2, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Keith

    Isn't it interesting that we have evolved into a society that if you do not agree with a persons views, then he is worthy of scorn, ridicule, and in this case glee about a man's death? It's not because that person may or may not be worthy of such scorn but perhaps more that we as a society are unwilling to listen to a different point of view. Thus if you disagree with me you must be a scumbag oir worse. Get over it America or we are clearly doomed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Brett

    I find it funny how a lot of people call him evil and full of hate when a lot of liberal commentators like Huffington and Bill Schultz who disagree with him politically say he was a great human being. They said they loved being around him. Funny how those who disagree with him ideologically that have actually met him say he is a good guy but all those who only read his work and disagree with him know he was really evil. I guess if have never met someone you are a better judge of their character...

    March 3, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. OrangeW3dge

    I think it's obvious, but, obviously, it either is not, or it is being ignored.
    The "elephant in the room" is respect and self control.
    This child, Breitbart, was still wet behind the ears; an impudent pup, lacking in a broader appreciation of nature and the human condition. His legacy is an army of just such young men who have tried to emulate those immature qualities. Yes, he was a hero, but only to those who had not already surpassed that stage of life.

    March 3, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse | Reply

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