In a mad rush to match the Christian right wing's Family Values approach, Democratic Senators (all mysteriously Presidential hopefuls) Clinton, Lieberman and Bayh today introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, attempting to make the Federal government responsible for regulating the sale of violent or sexually explicit video games to minors. I realize that yesterday I blogged about the parental issues regarding video games - however not once did I suggest that this is a Federal issue since it's NOT - it's a parental issue, and maybe, a state or local issue. I completely agree that AO & M games should not be sold to minors, but I fail to see why this is any different than other products which are regulated primarily below the Federal level.
I looked for the entire text of the bill, but could just find the summary on Senator Clinton's site. Even in 5 minutes of thought, it looks like it will ignore the following issues:
- these legislative attempts are routinely overturned by various court systems as unconstitutational.
- there is no Federal law surrounding movie ratings (it's voluntary), which one might logically think is a similar issue, but which apparently doesn't require the focus of these 3 senators
- liquor and cigarette sales to minors are regulated primarily by states, but I guess the societal impact of video games is a much larger issue, so the Feds should regulate it
- that the Federal government might actually have better things to do with its time, such as spying on its own citizens
I realize the jockeying for 2008 is beginning - I just foolishly hoped that we would focus on more substantial issues such as the War in Iraq, Off-shoring, our Education System, etc. I suppose the only good news is that this focus shows the increasing impact of video games on the country - it's now truly become the 4th leg of Entertainment, along with Music, TV and Movies, and it now requires that video game producers become as big a political donors as the RIAA and MPAA if they wish to receive equal rights.