I’ve been struggling all day for the words for the impact that Christopher Hitchens had on my life. I honestly don’t recall the first time I read his work, it seems like he was always in the background of my life with some kind of reporting from somewhere in the world. Though I knew the name, when I was younger I was never politically minded so I never paid much attention. But to be honest, I’m not sure of the person I’d be today if Hitch had not been a part of my life.
I know that I’ve written about the near-death experience I had back in ’89 that was the main cause of my first leaving organized religion in the past. But I don’t recall ever hearing the word or even considering myself an atheist until I first read Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” and followed it up with Hitchens’ book “God is Not Great”. Hitch especially sent me down a path of self-examination that eventually led me to the realization that atheism was the only course of reason and putting the mythology of religion in my past. He was also my first real introduction to many topics in world politics. When I became more politically aware starting in my 20s, I started to pay more attention to what Christopher was writing about. Most of what I came to know about American politics started with what he taught me.
I still turn to his books, articles and videos on a regular basis, be it his views on American and international politics, British history, atheism or just some that he wrote on everyday life — like how to make a proper cup of tea. 🙂 No one could phrase an argument or articulate a particular thought quite the way that he could.
His superb oratory mixed with intelligence, a razor sharp wit and a voice that commanded your attention, made him so incredibly unique that the loss of him is still felt so keenly today. Anyone whose life he touched can’t help seeing things in the news or in politics without wondering what Hitch would have had to say about it. He taught us how to look at things in a different manner than everyone else and not to just accept what the mainstream media was telling us. And his example was that of a man who was willing to be unpopular for standing by his convictions.
Hitch left us too early. There was too much left to say and no one to say it. This huge gap in all of our lives has not yet seen his like to fill it. I can only comment on how much he affected my life…my words are a pale shadow compared to the ones that could be uttered in their place.
We miss you Hitch.