Some folks like to say “the devil’s in the details.” Not me. I believe that God is in the details. Details are what make the big picture come together. Details are what make bad get better and good become great. That sounds like a more Godly approach than anything.

I’ve been taught to pay attention to details by the best - my wife, my parents, Drill Sergeants, mentors. One example: my first real paycheck came as a teenager from Chick-Fil-A. That was a solid education in paying attention to details. You might think that the preparation of a chicken sandwich can’t result in too many things to think about. Oh, no. It’s all about the details: are the buns fresh? Two pickle slices per sandwich. How many do we have on hand for the Christmas shopping rush? When do we need to change out the oil? Preparation of the chicken alone was detailed and thorough with each one being thoroughly dipped, battered and cooked for the correct time. That’s just the sandwich. Then there’s stocking, scheduling, dining room checks, refilling napkins, adequate change in the registers … and all the while keeping the smile on your face and telling folks it’s your pleasure to serve them.

Details matter. Think about it. How about your favorite restaurant? Was it just the food? Or was there a combination of service, atmosphere, and quality food? What about architecture? Is it just that a building is dried in and capable of supporting people? Or is a beautiful building a combination of strong architecture, construction quality, and refined elements that create something more than just a building? I submit that in both examples, it’s the combination of details.

Then of course there’s politics. It’s one thing to look at a candidate’s advertisements and billboards. But do the actions, the history, the past achievements and life experiences really add up to match the glossy mailout that came to your mailbox? Details my friend; it's all about the details.

I predict that as soon as the holidays are over, we will see a flurry of ads for all of the candidates across our state. I also predict that every Republican is going to be seen in a photo with a firearm because they’re Second Amendment friendly. All of them will have a pro-life statement. None of them would ever consider raising your taxes because they are all balanced budget fiscal conservatives who love the rule of law and are tough on crime and love President Trump. So look behind the curtain. What does their life tell you? What does their prior public image tell you? Are they on the record in any way? Are they a conservative or just a Republican?

Most candidates hope that you won’t do that. But those details matter.

The classic example of why I say this is currently sitting in the Oval Office. Joe Biden had over four decades of details on the books. Actual policy positions with votes on record: soft on crime, hard on energy, wrong on foreign policy, terrible on taxes, and one weird gaffe after another … but hey, no mean tweets!

Aside from all of the usual policies that any President must deal with, there were the two monstrous elephants in the room during the 2020 campaign season: COVID and race relations.

If you had any question about how he was going to handle COVID policy, all you had to do was look at the COVID protocols at his rare campaign events with everybody distanced, muzzled, and not allowed to fully assemble.

If you wondered at all how he would treat race relations, all you had to do was look at a single interview in which he condescendingly told a Black radio host that if he didn’t support him, “then you ain’t Black!,” indicating clearly that he did not believe that Black voters should assess a candidate’s past beyond party affiliation.

The same holds true for every election from local to national. It’s all in the details my friends and we are on the cusp of a major election. I want to encourage you to find that candidate who appears to fit the bill and then look behind the veil. Get away from the shiny stump speech and check out their record. Have they voted as a politician anywhere in the past? Have they held down a job, or started a business, or served in the military, or worked for a charity? Have they made public statements in the past, before the current run for office? Who is financing their campaign? Do they claim to be bullish on school choice but yet take contributions from the teachers’ union? When you get past the ads, the billboards, the public speeches, what details do you find?

It’s all about the details and for conservatives, the next election matters more than any we’ve seen in decades. If conservatives don’t find, support, promote, and vote for their candidates based on policy at all levels, then the 2022 election is going to mean more of the same grief that conservatives have been lamenting this year.

It’s all about the details.

Phil Williams is a former State Senator, retired Army Colonel and combat veteran, and a practicing Attorney. He has served with the leadership of the Alabama Policy Institute and currently hosts Rightside Radio M-F 2-5 pm on WVNN. His column appears every Monday in 1819 News. To contact Phil, or request him for a speaking engagement, go to www.rightsideradio.orgThe views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to