I don’t read Wonkette much, but this sign-off post by 23 year-old Riley Waggaman announcing the ending of his tenure as an author there is one of the most principled pieces of writing I’ve read in just about any corner of the internet. Here are some excerpts:
- I’m twenty-three. Can anyone even begin to count how many countries we’ve flattened, for Freedom, since 1987? I’m twenty-three, and for my entire life, all I’ve known is war.
- The fact that the headline of every major newspaper on May 2 wasn’t “Alright. Time For Us To Go The Fuck Home!” is the only reason you need to distrust American Journalism.
Also, I apologize for everything I’ve ever said or written. Except for this:
I’m twenty-three, and I’m pretty dumb, all things considered. But also:
I’m a crappy friend, a terrible son and a lousy brother.
The least I can do is say Fuck War.
Anyway, getting back to that revolution, in your head. The revolution has already happened for me. It was nonviolent, and didn’t involve the CIA. My new country is called the Democratic Republic of Rileyland. We’ve got a lot of problems, here in Rileyland. It’s not a very wealthy place, for starters. We have a very large deficit: We owe Sallie Mae a shit-ton of money. But the Democratic Republic of Rileyland does not tolerate endless war. We don’t travel around the world, curb-stomping brown people. Our citizens know better than that. The Democratic Republic of Rileyland has many, many problems — but it is, thankfully, a nation of Peace. And Hope. And Change. (You need Peace if you want those two other things, “Hope” and “Change,” by the way.)
There’s an election coming up in Rileyland. The pundits say I’ll be reelected, and not because I shot some guy in the face.
I’m not sure exactly when I started seeing myself as a pacifist. It’s one of those words which to Very Serious People means “you like it when the bully punches you in the face don’t you dirty fucking hippie!” But what I’ve learned over the increasingly many years of my life is that the existence of just about any war in which the US is involved means that the Very Serious People, with all the power they have, fucked up completely. Even if that war is, in some sense, “necessary,” it still means that the people who run this place screwed up and at the very least should resign in shame before sending people off to kill and be killed. But they don’t. They go on Meet the Press to talk about how awesome they are.
I’m probably fairly close to where Duncan is when push comes to shove though I don’t see myself as a pacifist; I’m right there with him when it comes to recognizing that something has really gone wrong. And it’s incredibly satisfying to see a young author have such moral clarity, in spite of spending his entire teenage and adult years living in a country that was and is at war.