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Joey Vento: Assimilation warrior

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 26, 2011 11:47 AM

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On Tuesday, I gave you the sad news about the passing of Joey Vento. My column below pays tribute to a true American patriot and assimilation warrior.

Via Philly blogger Tania Gale, here are details for Vento’s funeral tomorrow if you happen to be in the area:

All are invited to pay their final respects to Joey on Saturday, August 27 from 9-11:45 AM at the Cathederal of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th and the Parkway, Philadelphia, PA.

A Mass of Christian Burial will immediately follow the viewing at 12 Noon. Longtime Vento friend and vocal supporter, WPHT TalkShow Host Dom Giordano, has been invited to give a eulogy.

In addition to his entrepreneurship and political activism, Vento was also a passionate philanthropist who raised money for the needy and families of slain police officers. He touched more people than he’ll ever know. In Key West, Florida, Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel restaurant is holding a cheesesteak fund-raiser in Vento’s honor. The details for those in Florida:

On Thursday, August 25, through Friday, August 26, The Rum Barrel will donate 50 percent of proceeds from sales of our signature Philly cheesesteaks to Joey’s foundation, which donated generously to the American Cancer Society and Philadelphia policemen killed in the line of duty.

“We don’t have that many great personalities in Philly and Joey Vento was one of them. He was larger than life and he was giving. The Earth literally shook the day Joey passed,” said Rum Barrel owner Pat Croce, referring to the earthquake that also rocked the East Coast Tuesday.

Joey was the kind of man, who after 9/11, held a 3-day fundraising marathon and raised $120,000, who often tracked down and sent checks to unemployed families or terminally ill children after reading about them in the newspaper. This is what we honor this week.

“I read story after story about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Joey Vento raised and donated out of his own pocket, many times anonymously, to complete strangers in need,” said Rum Barrel General Manager JC Picco. “It’s a privilege to honor a man who helped so many.”

The Philly cheesesteaks are available at The Rum Barrel’s restaurant and via the Key West Food-To-Go delivery service by calling (305) 292-7862 to order.

God bless Joey Vento and his family!

***

Joey Vento, assimilation warrior
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2011

Blunt. Brash. Bold. Politically incorrect. Unapologetically patriotic. Philadelphia cheese-steak king Joey Vento was all that and a side of freedom fries. The 71-year-old owner of Geno’s Steaks died of a heart attack this week, but he reignited a national debate over radical multiculturalism that will burn for years to come.

Five years ago, Vento garnered national headlines when a local newspaper profiled his outspoken views on customers who couldn’t speak English. He hung a sign in his order window that read: “This is America. When ordering, speak English.” Though he never turned anyone away, the grandson of Italian immigrants informed hungry patrons that he reserved the “right to refuse service” to those he couldn’t understand.

No menus in 10 different languages. No dumbed-down pictographs for the idiocracy. The choice at Geno’s is simple: Sink or swim. Learn English or eat somewhere else. “If you can’t tell me what you want, I can’t serve you,” Vento told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s up to you. If you can’t read, if you can’t say the word ‘cheese,’ how can I communicate with you — and why should I have to bend? I got a business to run.”

Vento’s refusal to coddle triggered a tsunami of complaints from self-appointed civil rights leaders. The ululations of the aggrieved resounded from sea to whining sea.

For exercising his constitutionally protected free speech, both the Philadelphia City Council and Philadelphia Human Relations Commission launched political inquisitions against Vento. Yes, it really happened in the home of Independence Hall. Members of the government bodies demanded that Vento remove his bald eagle-adorned sign and threatened to revoke his business license. After 21 months of investigation, a marathon seven-hour hearing and hysterical testimony likening his innocuous 4-inch-by-9-inch sign to “Jim Crow laws,” he was cleared of discrimination charges.

Plainspoken as ever, Vento understood full well why the multi-culti mob wanted to gag him: “I say what everybody’s thinking but is afraid to say.”

As a fellow Philly-born loudmouth, I cheered Vento on for years during his battles with the anti-assimilationists. He weathered the same old slings, arrows and accusations of being a “racist,” “xenophobe,” “nativist” and immigrant-basher — despite the fact that generations of assimilated immigrants and naturalized Americans agree with him. The vast majority of Americans support English as the official language of the United States. Latino parents in California revolted against “bilingual education” mandates that stuck their kids in Spanish-only classes.

Generations of successful immigrant families in America know English is the language of success, not the language of oppression. Yet, politicians in both parties have pandered ceaselessly to the language-Balkanizers.

The Clinton administration gave us Executive Order 13166, effectively requiring all government agencies to provide translations into any language on demand. Rather than rescind the order, the Bush administration went after localities and forced them to provide foreign language materials. In 2004, the Bush administration ordered Harris County, Texas, to provide all voter registration and election information and supplies, including the voting machine ballot, in Vietnamese, as well as English and Spanish.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice threatened to cut off federal funding to the state of Oklahoma over a state constitutional amendment proposal to designate English as its official language. The Obama DOJ also has ordered my home state of Colorado to protect the interests of “language minority populations” by funding free translators for any foreigners — legal or illegal — who sue in civil cases here. In the same vein, the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission that tried to silence Vento distributes pamphlets asking “Are you a victim of discrimination?” in seven languages.

“Progressive” politicians pandering for votes treat non-English speakers as hopeless victims of white hegemony, instead of beneficiaries of the American dream. By contrast, small-business man Joey Vento promoted a common culture, a common tongue and common sense. We need more assimilation warriors like him to challenge the infantilizing Babel Lobby.

***

Previous:

Joey Vento, R.I.P.
Joey Vento takes on the cowards
A win for Geno’s
“This is America. When ordering, speak English.”
The attack on Geno’s
Geno’s says: Speak English

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