Today on The Stephanie Miller Show, a listener called in to express her dislike for Obama and explain why she was planning on voting for Mitt Romney.
She explained that she was struggling financially. She used to consider herself “middle class,” but no longer. She spoke at length about the employment problems, medical problems, and overall financial difficulties that affected her and her entire family.
The hosts on the show tried to dig a little deeper. John Fugelsang said, “So… that makes you want to vote for the guy who is going to give tax breaks to rich people?” Stephanie Miller asked, “So how will voting for Mitt Romney benefit you?” Of course, in my own mind, I was also thinking, “What part of all of your problems do you think are President Obama’s fault?”
The caller sputtered and talked around the topic, and eventually the show ran out of time. None of these questions was ever answered. The caller never explained the train of thought that lead from “I am experiencing economic hardship” to “I dislike Obama and want to vote for Romney.”
But I know the answer.
I blame The Lion King.
In case you are not familiar with the story-line, let me recap for you:
Then, through trickery and treachery, his evil brother Scar becomes king. Now, there is poverty in the land. Things are dark and everyone is depressed, hungry, and suffering.
Finally, at the very end, Mufasa’s son Simba becomes King. Simba is good-hearted, and suddenly the land prospers again. People are happy, the weather is good, and everyone has food.
There is no discussion about what Simba might have done to cause the country to be more prosperous. There is nothing that told us what Scar was doing to make everything so miserable while he was King. The only conclusion we can come to is that because a bad, evil person was King, people ran out of food and began to suffer. At the end of the movie, there is no indication that Simba might have had successful policies that made things better; instead, the suggestion is that because Simba is a good person (or rather, a good lion), everyone is automatically happy and the land is prosperous.
On some very deep–maybe even subconscious–level, I think this is how people’s minds work.
People don’t really understand policy or the structure of our government. People don’t fully understand what limits there are on the President’s power, or what processes are involved in changing the way things work in society. People don’t even fully understand the relationship between policies and how they translate into there being more or less food on the table at the end of the day.
What people understand is this: There is a Leader. If the leader is good, then everything will be good; if the leader is bad, then everything will be bad. And of course, the corollary to that kind of reasoning is this: if things are bad, then it must be because the leader is a “bad person.”
That is the message of The Lion King.
Now, I’m not saying that people think this way because of the movie The Lion King. I think people have been thinking this way for a very long time. The story-line of The Lion King is more of a symptom than a cause: it reflects a very deep collective subconscious desire and belief:
“A good King will make things good, a bad King will make things bad, and screw the details.”
This is the “Lion King mentality.”
And it unless we start pointing it out to people, it could decide the next election.