FLASHBACK: Why can’t America be more like EPCOT?

This is a blog I first posted in June 2007:

My wife got a cell phone call from my sister-in-law this week from Orlando. She was calling from EPCOT in Walt Disney World where she’s vacationing with my brother and niece who just graduated from the University  of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

If you’ve been to EPCOT, you’re familiar with the lay of the land. There’s Future World, with Spaceship Earth, and World Showcase.

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World Showcase is centered around a beautiful reflective lagoon. There are eleven countries represented along the perimeter. As you walk around World Showcase, you roam from one country to the next. At each country, you discover glimpses of the unique culture of that land. Great cuisine, shops, exhibits, movies, rides and performers are highlighted.

Cast Members from the different countries assist you and answer questions about their homeland. The workers are actually from Mexico, Italy, China, Japan, Germany, Morocco, etc.

It’s not just Epcot that features cast members from outside the United States. All of Walt Disney World features employees with name badges that list their hometowns from outside America.

Why do I mention this?

I’m always extremely impressed whenever I visit the Mouse House by the tremendous grasp of the English language and the outstanding vocabulary of foreign workers who seem to speak better than people born and raised here do.

I recall a waiter at the Flying Fish restaurant on Disney’s Boardwalk who was from Portugal. We got to talking about what it’s like to work at and for Disney, and what he thought of America.

In perfect English, our waiter spoke of the great love he has for our country and what a struggle it has been in his effort to become an American citizen, a quest that no matter how difficult he was going to continue fighting for because it was so worthwhile and was the right thing to do.

My wife and I couldn’t help but wonder why more people who come to America don’t have the same attitude and ethic.

I wear many hats. This summer, I will once again work backstage at the Main Stage at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in the Security Department. Today, there was a Job Fair at the Fair, and several of my Security colleagues interviewed prospective new hires.

It was a disaster.

Candidates not dressed properly. Candidates not having bathed. Candidates not understanding simple questions. (“If you can’t make it in for work, what would you do?” Answer: “I don’t know.”)

Worse yet, candidates completely unable to put together complete sentences and speak with any semblance of proper grammar.

This week in America, our U.S. Senate, totally out of touch with the pulse of the American public, nearly in one vote aggravated an already out-of-control immigration problem. Thank goodness their vote to provide amnesty failed. Had it been successful, it would have encouraged more illegal immigration.

Many American citizens can’t speak English. That’s bad enough. Is it too much to ask immigrants to speak English, or learn our language if they can’t?

I don’t think so.
“Why can’t America be more like EPCOT?”
June 2007

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