Sunday morning I flipped on NBC to watch Meet the Press only to find the French Open being telecast. I haven't watched tennis for quite a while, so I said, why not? Before my eyes was a very competitive tennis match, but also a mirror of what is happening in the Bush Administration today.
First I noticed that the Argentinean player went to the sidelines and took a good while to wipe off sweat and take a drink of water. "He can't do that," I said to myself. "This isn't a changeover." But the umpire didn't say anything. I thought to myself that these little things create bigger things, but also admonished myself for blowing it out of proportion, or so I thought.
Then the crowd starting getting a little unruly. Shouting and yelling while the players were about to serve. "My goodness," I said to my dogs, "this is starting to look like a soccer match. Why isn't the umpire asking for silence?" which he finally did, but it was too late. Then the Spanish player took his sweet time during a changeover to change rackets, drink water, etc., and the Argentinean player got pissed and started gesturing at the umpire. "Serves the umpire, right," I said to my cats. Meanwhile, the jeers and catcalls got louder and more frequent.
It was at this time that I said to myself that eventually we will see hooligans storming the court and having brawls, just like an international soccer match. Then the unbelievable happened. A wave. You know, where different sections of the crowd stand up in unison with their arms raised so that it looks like a wave moving around the stadium. This stupid activity started at the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.
Anyway, at this point all was lost. The players, umpire, etc., had no choice but to wait until the crowd decided it was finished. It became the crowd's event. It was no longer a championship tennis match.
People are like dogs, give them an inch and they'll try for a foot. If you don't correct them early, you'll lose control forever. For the sake of this argument, in this case the "people" metaphor is the Bush Administration. They've been given inches that they turned into feet. After five years it's turned into yards. It's no longer what's right or wrong for America, it's about what's right or wrong for them.
We've given them inches, which they are now turning into miles.