If the little things get to you, then you’re probably a voter
In a thoroughly forgettable movie about a drug-addled street urchin, played by Bridget Fonda, being transformed into a poised and glamorous assassin, the thoroughly unforgettable Anne Bancroft delivered a special line.
When you’re afraid or nervous and under pressure, Bancroft’s character told Fonda’s, you’ll need something offhand to say, just to collect your thoughts. “Something like, ‘I never did mind about the little things.’”
Bridget Fonda hated the idea and refused. But then she looked into Bancroft’s beautiful brown eyes and saw the eyes of a stone cold killer. She saw her own death, remorseless, waiting inside there.
Humbled by reality, frightened, the girl assassin decided to submit. She repeated the line and then, grasping with her feral intelligence, she understood that what Bancroft really meant was quite the opposite: It is the little things that matter.
It’s always the little things.
Political careers rise and fall with the weight of them. And most of us can get lost in the long weeds of intricate policy and soaring rhetoric, but we can, and do, see the little things.
Only they’re not little to us. The safety of our families isn’t some little thing. The kind of history being crammed into our children’s heads isn’t a little thing. Wondering if your kids will have a future in the world being made for them in this election isn’t a little thing. Hearing your wife’s friends wonder if they should get a gun isn’t all that little.
All politics is local.
Yet the politics of Washington is national, and the journalists of the Washington Beltway concentrate on grand, sweeping themes. They embrace dangerous phrases like “the narrative” and frame our national political discussions. For the past several years, since, oh, about 2016, the constant theme has been fear:
Fear of police, fear of the virus, fear of the president, fear of a society hopelessly infected (they insist) with the sin of “systemic racism,” just as we were making progress toward a colorblind society with the election (twice) of a Black man as president. Though militantly secular, the Beltway media entertain the idea that some people must atone for the systemically racist sins.