Yes, We Call Waiters ‘Sir’ Here–It’s Part of our Unlost Greatness

What’s the difference between the French and the Americans?  Peggy Noonan writes in today’s WSJ that a striking contrast can be seen when comparing how the two countries reacted the the arrest last week of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was once considered  to be the next president of France.  Now he’s out on bail after being accused of trying to rape a hotel chamber maid.

The French easily accept that their favorite son, head of the IMF, is a womanizer, they even call it ‘his woman problem,” but nobody there cares. The most striking thing is how in one country, we rally hard around the victim, and in another it’s all a set up to hurt a powerful man who they assume is innocent because, well, he’s a powerful man.

In the US, most Americans have rallied to the defense of the West African immigrant maid, and her testimony was all it took for the cops to yank DSK out of his first-class seat waiting to fly away at JFK.  But in France, the man is being called “a friend to women,” and one French editor asked “why the supposed victim was treated as worthy and beyond suspicion.” The consensus there seems to be that it was a set up, a trap, a conspiracy, writes Noonan.

But here in the US, we believe the victim….we root for the little guy. As she writes so well, “In America they call waiters ‘sir.’  Yeah, that’s right, we do and as Noonan puts it, “it’s part of our unlost greatness.”