I do occasionally step beyond the bounds of the typical Law of the Game topics to editorialize, and politics has long been an interest of mine, as evidenced by my degree in Government (Political Science) from the University of Texas.
A new campaign ad by Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney declares that our children are drowning in a an ocean of filth, citing violent games among other media, and states that it is time to clean up the waters. I have nothing against Mr. Romney personally, he is just the latest in a standing trend against the game industry.
We are drowning, all of us, in a sea of shallow politics and fear mongering. Both Presidential and Congressional approval are at historic lows, and yet, rather than deal with issues that matter, the politicos of the United States have opted to gravitate to video game violence. Why? It's always easy to amass votes under the guise of "protecting the children" from the evils of society, whereas it seems like an impossibility to win support on a platform of parental responsibility. And yet, it has become apparent that many parents are, simply put, failing their children. But should the battle cry of those wishing to defend those who cannot defend themselves really be "The government should do it for us!" Do we, as a people, really want to leave the decision on how to raise our children in the hands of a body that is barely approved of by a fourth of the population?
There are ample other issues that this country should resolve in a timely fashion, and I think it is high time that the people demand more from their representatives than an appeal to the lowest common denominator of potential issues. No matter where you may stand on other issues, or whom you may support, wouldn't you prefer a response to an issue of substance rather than repeated attacks on the gaming industry? Is there really a value to expend legislative time on a bill that will place a 16 year old GameStop clerk in jail for selling a game rated "M" to another 16 year old? Moreover, in the wake of such legislation, will we have to restrict the hiring practices of game retailers, when no such restriction exists for retailers of movies or books?
I can only imagine the possibilities of the path on which we tread. For now, it may be sales restrictions, but in the future, it could be an act of "child endangerment" to let your own children play games that you determine are appropriate for them. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we end up in a world where a parent can let a 15 year old watch an R rated movie without repercussion, but can face a CPS investigation or criminal charges for letting the same child play an M rated game. This could be the result of letting fear mongering dictate media policy.
I believe we should expect more from our elected officials. They are supposed to represent us, not dictate our opinions to us. Accordingly, the time may be upon us to let our voices be heard and write to our representatives to let them know with the utmost respect that we are tired of their time being wasted on this non-issue.
I don't want Washington dictating what video games can and can't be played in the privacy of my living room. Do you?