A column in today's Munster (Indiana) Times offers perspective on the video game crusade currently taking place in neighboring Illinois. According to the Times, Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich's attack on video game violence may have more to do with 2008 Presidential politics than any genuine philosophical underpinnings.
As recently reported on GamePolitics, HB 4023 recently sailed through the Illinois House and is now before the State Senate. Governor Blagojevich is squarely behind the bill, which provides for fines of up to $5,000 for selling adult-themed video games to minors. Unfortunately, HB 4023 is a badly written piece of legislation that ignores a well-established game rating system, mandates a new - and redundant - labeling process, offers a muddy legal definition of game violence and puts retailers in a highly precarious position.
But does Gov. Blagojevich really care about video game violence, or is it just so much political posturing?
After all, GamePolitics has previously reported that the Democratic Party has targeted so-called "cultural evils" as a way of reconnecting with conservative elements of the electorate. In the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton is leading the charge in calling for a government investigation of the effects of media on children. In California, Michigan, Illinois, and North Carolina, bills designed to restrict video game sales to minors appear to be successfully working their way through the legislative process. In each of those four states, the primary sponsors of the bills are Democrats.
But not everyone in Illinois agrees with Governor Blagojevich. As reported in the Times, Sen. John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat and chairman Judiciary Committee expects the Illinois law to be found unconstitutional when it is inevitably appealed. Cullerton is quoted as saying:
"This isn't about a law. This is about polling and press conferences."
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna echoed Cullerton's comments:
"He's good at reading surveys and hitting hot issues. Governing requires serving all the people, not just following issues that poll very well."