Support For Gamers Growing On Capitol Hill
It seems that recently a popular topic for politicians to talk about is how base and vile video games are. This is nothing new, video games have been political targets even before the days of Mortal Kombat, there’s just never been a reason for politicians to not attack the medium. A recent announcement will see the decline of politicians using video games as their whipping boys though. The New York Times reports that The Electronic Software Association has formed its own political action committee.
Tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies have been lobbying for politicians since the dawn of modern elections. Now it’s only fitting that the electronics industry will come to political aid. The committee will be responsible for building relationships with political figures and getting the gaming generation involved with social and political issues that appeal to them. The ESA, the pre-existing political sector for the industry, has been collecting support and finances for the PAC for some time now.
Michael Gallagher, ESA chief executive and former Bush administrative advisor, says that the PAC will be ready to go as early as second quarter. Approved of last fall, this action looks to bring some 100,000 politically minded gamers, who have already volunteered, into the fray. This year’s actions, however, will be very sparse predicting only $50,000-$100,000, an amount that is on par with the rest of the entertainment industry, being donated to political causes. Gallagher is hoping to reconcile the poor relationship between the gaming industry and politicians by letting them know ”We are behind them.”
The relationship is symbiotic, as most PAC relationships are. The game industry will finally have a voice in Washington that isn’t some poor developer apologizing up and down while crusty old men look on disapprovingly. The appeal for politicians is that gamers working together for their campaigns and political causes will add a much-needed boost to their overall support. While this will make it more difficult for the uninformed, agenda of anger, curmudgeons who want video games to be all about religious lessons and learning how to hunt wildlife, it will also make it easier for politicians who understand the medium to have more of a chance in getting where the game industry needs them.
The hope of such a movement is, as Gallagher states, ”about identifying and supporting champions for the game industry on Capitol Hill so that they support us." Another reason for the formation of the PAC is that the gamer culture has matured. What was once a group of idle children is now a full-blown world of adults who are voting, or in the cases showing the necessity of the PAC, not voting. Unfortunately it has seemed recently that no one but Ron Paul is interested in treating video games as material protected by the first amendment. Freedom of speech is a topic that many gamers have become very active in on the internet, but statistically haven’t been able to see satisfactory results anywhere else.
Life-long gamers and new comers to the pastime who are old enough to vote are growing in number every day. Politicians who have spoken of video games in the last couple of decades have mainly done so to ridicule or persecute them. This, among other things, has left a lot of people disillusioned with their government and the entire voting process. With a lobbying body to keep video games in mind, it is possible to swing some of these voters back around to help make a difference for the American government and maybe get a few consoles into the White House.
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