A victory for free speech, but a defeat for common decency and morality.
If you ever find yourself at Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia (as We often did many years ago), you might be in for a political fight if you order a carne asada con queso or le bifteck avec fromage.
Vento showing the same welcome to Hispanics as Americans of the past showed Italians wins a victory for his “you’re not welcome” sign. Obviously a person who cannot speak English cannot read his sign. In a radio interview with Joe Bednarsky Vento claims his sign will ‘help’ people because it promotes English. That’s definitely a strange assertion. What I believe the sign does is tells people that the U.S. is intolerant of diversity.
Vento, according to this story, is a millionaire so he obviously knows business and marketing. From his more than flamboyant neon lights to his “speak English” signs Vento is not ashamed to ‘stand out’ when it means more business. Strangely in the world he advocates people would look at him, an American of Italian descent with tattoos covering most of his arms, and think he was a street thug. This coupled with the terrible treatment of his ancestors make for a strange story. Rather than advocating for better treatment of migrants Vento attempts to make them feel unwelcome.
I live in New York and here there are signs all over in various languages. Nobody seems to mind. Walking home recently I passed by a new advertisement in Polish. Although they don’t get as much attention there are programs for people from all over the world to help them learn English. And contrary to Joey’s thoughts many recent “legal” immigrants cannot speak English or can’t well enough to read his sign. What would make me happy is to see Joey use some of his million dollars to help recent migrants learn English. But sadly, that won’t sell cheesesteaks at his restaurant which is known for its hostile treatment of customers.
In the article Vento says he “became a hero.” Yes, to white supremacists groups and prejudiced people everywhere, he certainly did.
“They made me famous throughout the world,” Vento said from his home in New Jersey. “I’m way ahead of the game. I became a hero. I’ve got to thank them for that.”
Here’s some of the gems from Joey’s Harrisburg speech where he made sure all Hispanic people felt welcome in the U.S.:
Here we are. We’re a country that owes the children – we’ve got to worry about our children. He we are – they’re killing like 25 of us a day which we already know. They’re molesting about 8 children a day. That’s two reasons alone why we can get them out of here. There is no such word as “can’t” – no not in the American language. Don’t say you can’t do it. We are the greatest country in the world we can do anything we want.
And as far as the anchor babies – you come here pop a baby, pick it up and take it back to Mexico.
These people came here with the criminal intent knowing that if they pop this baby out that they’re going to get all the benefits and we won’t take mommy and daddy away from the kids. Fine. Take the baby and go back to Mexico.
So the Spanish people I say to you, you want to be prosperous – ’cause I called you morons and I’m going to tell you why (audience laughing). As long as you’ve got Spanish in the school you’ll never ever succeed in the United States of America. A complete success. Because the only true success in America is you must speak English.
Full speech can be found here.
There’s only one person who owns a restaurant that’s worse than Vento and that’s Bill Balsamico.