Master Chief for President: The Politics of November 6
Here in the United States, we’re at an interesting place. The first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is in the books, and all debates will be done deals in a matter of weeks. Though some of us love politics and follow what these people do and say on a daily basis, many Americans are certainly less plugged-in. Many people wait for October before making an effort to pay attention to what’s being said by both candidates. That Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney have been out there selling themselves for quite some time is completely meaningless; more people are watching now, and the candidates both know all too well that finishing strong and squeezing every last bit of enthusiasm out of the electorate in the final days of the campaign is of vital importance.
We’re just shy of one month before Election Day – Tuesday, November 6.
Please, dear gamer friend, let that date rattle around in your skull for a few moments. Swirl it around, like a fine wine. Reaaaaaally meditate on its importance and meaning to you.
November 6 sounds familiar, somehow.
Where have you heard that date before? What could have caused your hard-wired, button-pushing brain to flag it as something important in a way unrelated to the upcoming election?
I’m not going to even entertain the notion that someone at Microsoft secretly hates America or is somehow pushing some sort of political agenda. No…somebody either didn’t check their calendar or didn’t care, but the selection of our nation’s Commander-in-Chief for the next 4 years smashes right up against the world’s purchase and enjoyment of the highly-anticipated next installment of the popular Halo series.
Now, I could just chalk it up to an oversight or a coincidence. I could say, “Pretty crazy, huh? Welp, that’s all I got! End of article, happy gaming!” But that wouldn’t be any fun.
I’m going to pose two follow-up, non-gaming questions to you fine folks.
1. Do you think the mass distraction of hordes of Halo fans on November 6 will have any impact on election turnout?
2. If so, which candidate do you think this helps/hurts more?
Regardless of whom you may support (many of you probably aren’t even Americans – in which case I say, thanks for reading this article and thusly putting more thought into our political process than many of our own citizens), I’m curious to hear your thoughts on whether or not Our Precious Hobby™ is going to have even a small effect on Election Day.
If the election is as close as many observers believe it will be, even a slight shift could have a dramatic impact on the outcome. The difference between President Obama being reelected and Governor Romney being sworn in as our 45th President could depend, in part, on whether or not a large number of young people bother to stop by the polls and cast their vote…either before picking up their copies of Halo 4, or on their happy ways home from their retailers of choice.
As such, Master Chief could have a massive effect on who will be The Leader of the Free World™.
I call this…the MASS EFFECT.
Let’s call it something else, then.
How about The Halo Factor ?
Before you laugh it off, actually consider for a moment that there may be some validity to this idea. For example, say President Obama is counting on another large youth turnout. In a close election, a large number of young people staying home to play Halo 4, or grabbing a nap after enduring a Midnight Launch Line™ and snoozing through their opportunity to vote, could feasibly add up to a narrow loss somewhere crucial.
Maybe some Halo players are shooter-lovin’ gun nuts? Maybe they’ll be so wrapped up in all the amazing, hypnotic, immersive action that they’ll shrug off their patriotic duty? If Mr. Romney is counting on their support, and it’s lower than it could be…it could swing a close call in President Obama’s direction.
Seems crazy to think that gaming might be a factor in all this, right? Or is it just imaginable enough that it’s cause for alarm? Whatever your take on The Halo Factor may be, I humbly present it a food for thought. I like the idea that our world can sometimes intersect (for better or for worse) with the “real” world!
I invite you to share your thoughts on this Nexus of Commander-in-Chief and Master Chief™. My personal politics stop at the door, here; I’m approaching this as a journalist and professional. I’m genuinely curious, people of all shapes, colors and political affiliations!
Oh, and one more thing…vote!