Over the weekend, the story that Maine Democratic candidate for state senate Colleen Lachowicz is also (gasp!) a World of Warcraft player went semi-viral – largely because the Maine GOP decided to launch a frontal attack on her gaming. Look, I may not like her politics (in fact, I’m sure I don’t and certainly disapprove of her ridiculous language against Republicans), but the fact that she plays World of Warcraft is irrelevant to her ability to serve the citizens of Maine.
How do I know this? Well, I play World of Warcraft, and I have for years. I prefer playing WoW to watching most television (with notable exceptions), almost all movies (which tend to be dreadful), and I certainly prefer it to the loathsome sport called “golf” which I struggled to play as a young lawyer. But here’s the thing — if our Maine candidate was a movie buff or a golfer or a scrapbooker or collected model trains, or — well — engaged in virtually any other legal hobby, there’d be no controversy. Play WoW, however, and she’s a strange, basement-dwelling geek who likely suffers from Vitamin D deficiency from lack of exposure to the sun.
Simply put, to the extent the Maine GOP is attacking her hobby (rather than some of her reprehensible comments — like, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bath tub.”), it’s playing a dangerous and misguided political game.
It’s dangerous because Colleen’s gaming hobby is now more popular than going to the movies, and increasing numbers of young people (my age and younger) see gaming as just another form of entertainment — a form superior in many ways to the entirely passive acts of television and movie-watching. In other words, when you mock gamers, you mock millions upon millions of entirely-normal, high-functioning individuals.
It’s misguided because it’s false to presume that gaming is incompatible with high achievement (heck, head over to a Harvard or MIT dorm some day and ask if anyone games). I’m not saying I’m the most accomplished person in the world — you can read my bio for yourself — but I’ve loved gaming since “Pong,” and that hasn’t stopped me from becoming a lawyer, writer, soldier, husband of a wonderful wife, and father of three God-fearing, game-playing children (yes, we’re starting Naomi young). And guess what? I play WoW than Ms. Lachowicz does. I just hit level 90 yesterday, and I think she’s stuck somewhere around level 85. The rookie.
One final note that troubled me as a limited-government conservative. The Maine GOP pulled a stat from somewhere that purports to claim that the average WoW player plays more than 20 hours a week (I think that’s way high) to argue that Ms. Lachowicz can’t devote enough time to her constituents. Whatever happened to a part-time legislature, Maine GOP? Are we really going to say that state senators have to devote more than full-time to their work? Seriously? A state senator shouldn’t be “busy” with the work of government because state government shouldn’t be that intrusive.
Here’s my idea of a good state senator: She keeps taxes low, keeps roads repaired, protects my liberty — and makes it home in time to log on to WoW and help the rest of my guild kill a few (virtual) monsters.
Sadly, since Ms. Lachowicz seems to be radically Left, I fear that she won’t have time for WoW. She’ll be too busy raising taxes, promulgating regulations, and stripping away our fundamental rights in favor of an ever-expanding nanny state. So you keep gaming, Colleen, because that means less time on the campaign trail. In fact, if you switch to alliance and head over to the Kil’Jaeden server, send me a message and I’ll help you waste a couple hours that you could be using to visit constituents.
My character name is Rickybobbey. See you soon.