Videogames: the latest culpritSteve Hammer

There's something screwy going on in our country, and for once it's impossible to blame the Republicans for it. There's currently a witch-hunt going on among liberal Democrats to ban certain videogames whose content is offensive to some people.

It's not Bush this time, it's the people who, on other issues, are all in favor of personal freedom. It's otherwise sane people such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman and Chuck Schumer who want to take away our rights.

You have to ask yourself why liberals are attacking videogames. Hillary should be holding impeachment hearings or fighting whatever extremists Bush will appoint to the Supreme Court.

I personally think it's some kind of rip in the time-space continuum that's causing these problems. I mean, George Bush gets a lifetime achievement award from Black Expo and Hillary wants to restrict the First Amendment. Next you'll be telling me Ben Wallace will have his jersey retired by the Pacers.

What's caused this latest furor is a patch to my all-time favorite game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, that unlocks some graphic sex scenes. They're computer sex scenes, mind you, and show no actual nudity, computer-generated or real.

But Hillary is all up in arms about it, although I doubt she's ever spent any time playing the game.

San Andreas "has so many demeaning messages about women and so encourages violent imagination and activities and it scares parents," Sen. Clinton said. "They're playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them."

First of all, if there's anyone who should be sympathetic about someone having sex with a prostitute, it should be Mrs. Clinton. Secondly, she doesn't understand the game if that's all she knows about it.

Yes, you can have sex with hookers in the game. You can also derail a freight train, crash an airplane into the ground and use plastic explosives to blow up police cars.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in contrast to what the senator says, is actually a very intelligent and thoughtful game. It's a social satire of the consumer culture and of the racial and class divides that exist in our country.

In the game, a CIA agent helps recruit a notorious gang member and has him deal drugs and commit murder on his behalf. That's a parallel to the real-life CIA, which encouraged the crack trade in California in the 1980s, even as the Reagans were telling people to just say no.

It's been well-documented that the CIA used proceeds from drug money to fund its illegal war in Nicaragua during the Reagan years. They also sold weapons to terrorists in exchange for the release of hostages.

Now that's immorality for you. That's not a videogame fantasy; it's a shameful part of our history, and San Andreas does a good job of helping people understand it.

It's the rare game that has an African-American protagonist. It carries an anti-drug message, in contrast to most such games on the market. Your actions carry consequences. The choices you make in the game reflect how your character develops.

More than that, it's a game that is very specifically marketed towards an adult audience. While I love the game, I'd never let a child have access to it, no more than I'd give them access to Cinemax After Dark.

You have to ask yourself why liberals are attacking videogames. Hillary should be holding impeachment hearings or fighting whatever extremists Bush will appoint to the Supreme Court.

We have men and women dying every day overseas for a war predicated on deceptions, lies and faulty intelligence. Meanwhile, people slap a ribbon magnet on their car and think they're supporting the troops.

You may remember our own mayor, Bart Peterson, wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting against violent videogames when he first came to office. He knew it was a dumbass move, and wasteful of resources, but for some reason he felt he needed to make a stand for morality and against evil videogames.

It's because Democrats are perceived as being weak on "moral issues." But guess what? John Kerry was a very moral man and told the truth over and over again about Bush - and people still didn't care. We don't need Mrs. Clinton to protect our kids from video games. We need her to help protect us against this outlaw president we have.

Is it moral to be against abortion and for the death penalty? Is it morality in play when you protest our civil liberties being eroded? Is it moral to deliberately expose a CIA officer's identity, as Karl Rove did?

I don't know who Clinton, Lieberman and Peterson think they're fooling. They're not winning over any conservatives with this rhetoric. Maybe rethinking their stances on abortion, gun control and gay marriage might help them with conservatives, but not railing about a violent videogame. That won't do jack with the red-staters.

In the last 25 years, the conservative agenda has been to erode civil rights, bankrupt our nation and to perpetuate a garrison state where everyone lives in fear. Nothing has been off-limits, from the rigging of elections to the torture of prisoners.

In contrast, the eight years between 1993 and 2001, when a Democrat occupied the White House, were a time of peace, prosperity and progress. Mrs. Clinton was there and saw it all. Shame on her for not knowing better.

As for me, I'm going to keep playing my violent videogames and celebrating my freedoms as an American. Sen. Clinton and all the moralists should STFU and concentrate on the real issues facing America.


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