03/01/2012 05:35 pm ET Updated May 01, 2012

My Friend, Andrew Breitbart

"Try and leave this world a little better than you found it..." ~ Robert Baden-Powell

Maybe the takeaway, politically speaking, from the sudden death of my friend Andrew Breitbart is that once again we are all reminded how brief our time is on this planet, how precious our relationships are, the importance of our gestures and how frightening life -- and loss can be.

Andrew was a badass, defiant and audacious. For those who supported his views, he provided the physically imposing presence to literally go face-to-face with the forces and personalities he and others perceived as being villainous; to his detractors, it was this same brazenness that shocked and enraged them.

In the end, and despite the controversies that trailed virtually all of his political activity, he probably did more good to bring certain issues to the fore than the more traditionally polite discourse did -- a plus for those on either side of the argument.

Except for an arguable lack of romanticism, his persona evoked a kind of frat-boy Don Quixote, tilting at windmills and fighting "the fight", something alternately thrilling and disappointing. He impacted his environment in a way that was both inspiring and terrifying and it will be fascinating to see if that impact will be taken up as a gauntlet by those who shared his vexed vision of the world or by others who would try to reapply that preternatural focus of his and use it to build coalitions rather than demolish them.

Say what you will about Andrew, for all the rankling he may have incited for those of us on the left or the enthusiasm he certainly inspired for those of us on the right, he made the whole damn thing pretty fucking exhilarating. And that's better than it was.