Why in the name of Michael Bloomberg’s forehead is a plurality of television shows based in New York City? Are there no "Special Victims" in Chicago? No "Person of Interest" in Las Vegas? Could producers not find "2 Broke Girls" in Dallas? Could "Mindy" not work on her "Project" in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico?

Why in the name of Michael Bloomberg’s forehead is a plurality of television shows based in New York City? Are there no "Special Victims" in Chicago? No "Person of Interest" in Las Vegas? Could producers not find "2 Broke Girls" in Dallas? Could "Mindy" not work on her "Project" in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico?


I suspect it’s because our society has been duped by some bad math; we’ve learned to stipulate that bigger equals better. As the nation’s largest city by a wide margin, New York is, according to that equation, the "best" city we’ve got — a city full of winners, so the theory goes. After all, if they weren’t all winners in New York, how could they afford the rent?


This is silly when you really think about it, but I fear we implicitly accept it on some subconscious level. A football player who’s good enough in high school goes on to play in college, and the best among those play in the pros — matriculation to bigger venues means one is a better player, and we’re taught to believe the same is true in everyday life.


But the logic doesn’t hold with cities, and it doesn’t hold with politics either. Just as there are advantages to living in a smaller town — better schools, less crime, shorter commutes — there are significant advantages to keeping political decisions close to home, as well.


Walk up to a stranger on the street and ask him what the President of the United States was up to last week (hint: probably involved golf), and there’s a good chance he’ll have a clue. Whatever exposure he’s had to the news was likely focused on the big; an amorphous congressional vote that has no chance of becoming law or a political speech full of bluster and tripe.


Ask that same man what the state legislature is debating today or what happened at the last city council meeting, and there’s a good chance you’ll get a blank stare in response. Most of us just don’t pay attention to any politics that aren’t "big."


But here’s the rub: the farther politics gets from home, the less it affects people’s daily lives. Decisions in Washington are fun to debate and get upset about, but most of them aren’t impactful like the decisions of state and local government.


Whether or not Congress raises the debt ceiling is guaranteed to get your blood boiling one way or the other, but bromides about "leaving debt to our grandchildren" or "the country paying her debts" don’t manifest themselves tangibly on your trip to the grocery store. While we’re distracted with anger toward Barack Obama or John Boehner in the check-out line, we fail to notice the state and local taxes on the bottom or the receipt.


Our collective attention and citizen lobbying efforts would be better spent on the small stuff, but it starts with retraining our minds. We first need to reject Hollywood’s line of thinking that, "These people made it to The Big City, so therefore they are important and interesting."


What’s really important is living and loving and working someplace where your voice can be heard above the traffic. And the people who are actually interesting are people like a state representative trying to push through an innovative funding measure to help schools. Or maybe it’s an effort by your local mayor to establish some sort of civic tradition in your community.


Those are the kinds of people who need our deliberation and our help — or our dissent, if that’s your cup of tea. If we can make ourselves refocus and relearn what constitutes "political importance," we’ll be left living in better communities and richer towns — none of them named New York.


NATE STRAUCH is a reporter with the Herald Democrat. Email him at nstrauch@heralddemocrat.com.