“Missed it by that much!” I mimicked Maxwell Smart, as my son and I watched baseball on ESPN at the Copper Penny before seeing “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at Thalian Hall.
“It’s the little things, Dad. That’s what you always said coaching baseball,” my son said as he demonstrated how to properly grip a baseball bat.
“That must have been Coach Rocco,” I replied.
“It seems like a little thing, but Coach Rocco taught us holding the bat the right way, lightly, with the knuckles in the middle of your fingers, lined up, lets your wrists turn over, and gives you better control and way more power,” he said. “Your tight grip is probably why you were a slap hitter, at best.”
“At best,” I agreed.
With the recent emphasis on things so “yuuge,” so ever-loving great again, it’s easy to lose sight of little things that make a big difference. Little things separate the poised Jeters and Chippers or detailed Tennessee Williamses of the world from most everyone that picked up a bat or a pen. Lots of people hit a baseball pretty well. Lots of people write stories about troubled alcoholic families. Few attend so well to so many little things.
Focusing on little positive things helps me counterbalance bombs going off at concerts and the constant chaos of the current U.S. administration. It’s concerning when Jeb Bush gets to say, “I told you so,” and remind America he called out the chaos candidate long before he became the Kremlin’s chaos POTUS. Of course, with Breitbart-type conspiracy theories ruling the day, my fear is Jeb is really warning us this guy is the KAOS president, head of Maxwell Smart’s worldwide organization of evil.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve set aside more time for little things. In addition to supporting outstanding local theatre, I participated in the Hands Across the Sand environmental activism event at Carolina Beach. When it seems the greed of our corporate “citizens” cannot be stopped, it’s helpful to join hands with real citizens promoting sustainable growth and environmental stewardship—true conservatism.
Mayor Bill Saffo’s recent admission that New Hanover County schools are basically re-segregated—back to where they were in the 1960s—counts as a little thing. We keep voting in school boards that draw the lines and support neighborhood schools; the data solidly supports Mayor Saffo. It’s not a positive sign our schools are resegregated, but it is that Saffo actually said what everyone else who’s had a child in school here over the past two decades already knows.
The Supreme Court recently struck down North Carolina’s racially motivated voter ID law and racially motivated GOP gerrymandering. Both little decisions merited far less national attention than the ongoing Russia probe. But, not only did unconstitutional racially-motivated redistricting and unconstitutional voter ID laws likely help Representative Rouzer win his 7th District seat, they might have lost Senator Clinton North Carolina. Nationwide gerrymandering and racially motivated voter suppression efforts likely aided the KAOS candidate, at least as much as the Kremlin.
I’m sure Mr. Rouzer is a decent guy, but I’m also sure his seat in Congress has a lot more to do with the snake-like drafting of his district’s boundaries than the appeal of his party’s policies or his personal charm. The two Supreme Court decisions should make it easier to actually have a representative that represents the citizens—and is not a beneficiary of big money, the Citizen’s United decision and gerrymandered districts.
Someone—perhaps like Dr. Kyle Horton, a local physician—provided another little positive when she announced her candidacy for the 7th District. Dr. Horton focusing her talents on our small congressional district portends to hope and a big change in what has recently been a weakness in the progressive mindset. In over-emphasizing universals, noble ideals of world peace and saving the environment, progressives pretty consistently lose seats on boards of education, state houses and Congress. Thus it allows little congressional districts to be gerrymandered. Sure, it’s important to understand the complex global interdependencies we exist within, but it is equally important to pay attention to the little things. Ask Derek Jeter, Maxwell Smart or Tennessee Williams. Heck, ask Coach Rocco.