2016 was a painful year for the loss of celebrities ― many of whom I genuinely admired. And it appears as though 2017 is off to a terrible start, with the death of broadcaster Alan Colmes. Colmes died last Thursday, Feb. 23, after, as most media outlets have revealed, a battle with a short illness. Alan Colmes was 66 years old.
I was devastated to hear about Mr. Colmes passing. He had gotten his start as the foil to the very conservative Sean Hannity on “Hannity and Colmes.” I must confess: I have never seen “Hannity and Colmes”. I discovered Mr. Colmes’ radio program on the Albuquerque Progressive Radio station, via the IHeart Radio app. I had stumbled across the show, really. The first night I listened to “The Alan Colmes Show” I was hooked instantly.
The great thing about the show―the truly memorable thing, to me―was that Colmes always allowed dissenting voices. No matter how crazy the callers were―and believe me, there were many who sounded certifiable―the host never shied away from any of them. No opinion was too controversial for Alan. No opinion was too strong that if Alan disagreed with it, he wouldn’t fight it. The man was afraid of nothing. He was gentle but totally fearless at the same time. He was always respectful of differing opinions, but he never backed down. He was the real deal, and I’m proud I stumbled upon his radio show one year ago.
News of Mr. Colmes death hit me like a baseball bat in the stomach. I was in the process of moving when I had heard the terrible news―a friend had posted the article on my Facebook wall and when I saw the headline, “Fox News’ Alan Colmes Dies”, I started to feel sick.
How could this happen? I thought. Still being on the road, I was expecting Alan to return any day now. I had no idea anything was seriously wrong with his health, in spite of this message he left, over at Fox News Radio:
As I previously mentioned on the show last year, there would be times I would be taking off from the show to deal with a medical issue. This is why I’ve been out recently and will be out this week as well. But I will be back taking your calls as soon as I can.―Alan
At the time, I was expecting Alan’s return any day. But then the news hit, and I was extremely saddened. Still am. I just loved Alan. The way he always took the high road with his callers, without ever giving an inch, and compromising his beliefs, and without being totally insulting to them. He was a gentleman, one hundred percent, soft-spoken, but he could get good and indignant when need be. He used to constantly say on his show, “You don’t fight fire with fire. Fight fire with water.”
That quote, I believe, sums up Alan and his approach to dealing with adversity on his show and, I’m guessing, off the air as well, perfectly. Don’t get nasty, just be honest. Anger is fire, and the fire extinguisher is the truth―water.
I’ve been reading many articles about Alan since he’s left us. What’s truly impressive is that nobody―Democrat or Republican―had a cross word to say about the man.
Nor did I read anything nasty about Alan on right-leaning political forums, in spite of his bleeding heart liberal message, and convictions. Here are just a few comments, posted on right-leaning message boards.
I didn’t agree with much he said, but he helped promote fair and balanced TV and radio through “Hannity and Colmes.”
Wrote another user:
I didn’t agree with his politics but when meeting him, he was one of the nicest people. He was gracious and genuine. It was just a chance encounter and he could have just kept about his business but he was very nice.
Sounds like Mr. Colmes was a class act, remained constant in his beliefs rising pretty far in so doing.
While I did not share in his beliefs, I commend him.
Some people believe riches gauge a person’s worth. Some believe in physical riches ― ephemeral, material gains ― whereas others believe in meekness, kindness, and leaving a good name for themselves after they leave this Earth. If you, like I, believe the latter, then you’ll realize that Alan Colmes was the richest person on Earth.