The secret to preserving the constitutional republic of the United States of America is by setting an example and taking action, rather than endlessly pontificating.
Once upon a time the entire world looked up to the land of the free and the brave, the United States of America. The vast land was the beacon of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A land where you can dream big and with hard work and tenacity, dreams could be materialized. The United States was an exceptional country, the envy of the world.
Today, with almost a year into the Coronavirus social psychosis, that image has become opaque. It has been replaced by small, singled out inlets of such remarkable freedom and liberty ethos. One such inlet, a bastion of the fading American philosophy, is ‘Basilico’s Pasta e Vino‘, a quaint Italian restaurant in Huntington Beach, Southern California, its proprietor is Tony Roman, an American patriot.
It all started with Tony’s mother Rosemarie, a first-generation American, whose family came to America from Italy. During her childhood, Rosemarie learned how to cook food from the old country. Years of feeding a large family and often entertaining guests who licked their fingers while delving into the dishes she so much loved to prepare, was the incentive for Rosemarie to open a restaurant.
In 1999, at its original location at Magnolia and Yorktown in Huntington Beach, the first Basilico’s Pasta e Vino was opened, named in honor of Rosemarie’s father, Antonio Basilico. The restaurant’s name is also the Italian word for the Basil herb. When Rosemarie’s health took a toll on her and the restaurant’s neighborhood was on the decline, her son Tony took time away from his own businesses, to design and build an upgraded new restaurant, in its current location, and gifted it to his mother as a tribute.
Bastion of Freedom and Liberty, Constitutional Republic
So what brings me to write an op-ed about an Italian restaurant, some 45 miles away from my home office?
It is Tony Roman, who stands tall for the country he loves while most of the nation appears to have lost that sentiment. The nation is definitely missing the courage that is so much needed these days.
From the day the order came down to shut all businesses, on March 19th, 2020, all but the ‘essential’ ones, and for people to lock themselves behind their homes’ closed doors and hide their faces with a mask, Tony went the other way. His restaurant never closed, never changed its appearance, and went as far as to even ban wearing a mask. Life in this liberty enclave restaurant continues as if nothing happened, as if there is no virus. Tony implies that this has been one of his restaurant’s healthiest years among his staff members. Since the restaurant’s policy is that if an employee caught the flu, or had a cold, they would be required to stay home and recover, there was never a need for outside interference mandates. If there was an issue to tackle, Tony would address it himself in the appropriate employer-employee responsible way.
The restaurant’s patrons are forbidden to as much as to appear at ‘Basilico’s Little America’ doorstep wearing a mask. Entering the restaurant with a mask is an insult to the team who works there and as far as Tony is concerned, an insult to his Americanism, deeply instilled in him. He says the masks represent the lockdowns, and are a symbol of fear, control, and surrender.
Being served by maskless waiters brings back the memory of joyful dining experience of bygone days, which almost seem to have been lost and forgotten for the past nine months, during the debilitating COVID pandemic, in the ever-changing governmental orders era.
And so, ‘Basilico’s Pasta e Vino’ is standing up for American freedom.
What is ‘Basilico’s Pasta e Vino’ Doing Differently?
Once people comply, on any level, with a government order that is infringing on their inalienable rights, they have lost their case in the face of the authorities, and that makes Tony’s fight to retain the unconditional and total freedom this country has been blessed with so much more difficult. When restaurant owners, for example, fight for only outdoor dining, instead of for full standard operations, including dine-in, they are compromising their stand. They are not even halfway fighting for what is inalienably theirs.
When Tony first heard about the virus, he noticed that his business started to slow down because people were afraid to be in the company of others. The reason being that the mainstream media were carelessly spreading so much fear. Then he heard that China, that routinely controls its citizens, had shut down. Then he was further shocked to learn that one American city after another was following China’s lead and shutting down as well.
Tony’s question was, “when does the United States of America ever shut down for any reason?” It was the first in America’s history that America chose to end living life. To him it was an act of insanity, a measure by a tyrannical overreaching government.
Tony’s decision was simple. His restaurant would remain as is. A symbolic stand against government tyranny; he would stay open, in full operational mode to serve his patrons and nothing in the restaurant’s appearance, not a thing would change. There would not be a smidgen of compliance with any government order and zero restrictions in the restaurant.
While navigating his restaurant in this defiant manner, Tony had in mind the country’s Founding Fathers who risked so much to gift the American people such an exceptional way of life. He also thought about the soldiers who have defended the constitution while risking their lives ever since. Tony pledged to defend the precious gift of liberty, not dishonor it and those who gave it to the American people.
‘Baslilico’s Pasta e Vino’ has become the blueprint of defending freedom and liberty, which calls on others to follow its example. The American flag waves proudly in front of the restaurant, positioned between the two ‘Don’t Tread on Me, Live Free or Die’ yellow flags. And indoors artwork of American and Italian flags, with the American flag positioned higher, looking at you and at one another from the wall.
Tony extended his Constitutional Republic message further, to publicize his position. He paid for a billboard in Los Angeles County to antagonize the mask shamers who have made hundreds of threats against him. The message was his take on the famous line from the movie ‘The Godfather’. In the movie the famous line is ‘Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli’; Tony’s message was ‘Leave the Mask, Take the Cannoli’. After ten billboard companies refused to run Tony’s billboard at any location, because it was ‘too controversial’, one brave woman, a sales executive at one advertising company, managed to push it through because she appreciated the message as she too is of Italian origin.
Tony’s billboard stood tall for one month, at a very busy city intersection, near the Beverly Center Mall, in Beverly Hills, California. Subsequently, the billboard’s lease ran its course, was removed to never be allowed to run again with this or any other billboard company, and thus the charming and much poignant message vanished from the public’s eyes.
It is all about the bigger picture, a reason to be courageous and doing what is best for our country, not for oneself. It is an American stand for what is dear to all Americans, freedom and liberty. Tony is prepared to put everything on the line, saying, if his space was only dirt with a door, his fight would be the same, in order to stand for our rights to be free American citizens.
It is not about the ‘me’ it is not about one’s own interests, it is about the right to be on the right side of history.
What Next, Going Forward?
Tony suggests to stop putting so much faith in a president, who is a human being and is fallible. Stop putting faith in a political party. Stop putting faith in judges and lawyers. It is every American’s responsibility to stand up for themself as an American. “Don’t leave your destiny with respect to your freedoms in the hands of others who will sell them out from under you.”
Tony was even rather dismayed with President Trump. As the leader of our country he should have never endorsed any shutdown, not for 15 days, not even for 15 seconds. President Trump should have taken a hard stand against such government overreach, washed his hands of it, and pinned any and all negative outcome from lockdowns, such as the economic destruction, on the governors who imposed them. He should have fired Dr. know all but nothing Fauci the first week of the virus folly; but instead and wrongly, the President kept this dangerous and rather unscientific, turned media obsessed person within his inner circle. Trump even called wearing a mask “patriotic,” which really disappointed Tony.
I was curious to know Tony’s opinion why the American people are not in the streets, in the millions, protesting the ongoing lockdowns, the overreach by governors and mayors, and the many senseless restrictions that ended life as we have known it in America. His answer: “too many people in this country were not instilled with the love and appreciation for America. Children are no longer taught to respect and love this country. Nowadays, they learn nothing about its history in schools. Additionally, many people who now come to live here do not understand the great traditions, unique principles and essence of America that have made it the freest nation on earth. Instead, they come here to make money, and end up sending it ‘back home’ because here they do not consider it to be their true home. Too many use this country instead of cherishing it.”
What About Lawsuits?
Tony’s greatest hero has always been George Washington, America’s first president who is considered the ‘Father of the Country’. Mr. Washington did not fuss to engage in lawsuits in order to defeat the enemy. Instead, he fought and destroyed the enemy in defense of freedom. “You stand firmly for what you believe and you fight for it fiercely,” Tony often repeats.
When he received an ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) violation to revoke his very valuable liquor license and he had to reach out to an ABC specialist lawyer for guidance on how to respond when completing contesting forms, here is how the attorney responded: “Well, pick your battles. If you have the financial ability to withstand being made an example, I think the saying is, any publicity is good publicity. However, if you do not have the financial ability to pay the fines, then stop fighting, obey the mask order and closure rules and live to fight another day in another way, but not on this issue.” The lawyer simply meant, surrender your freedom! Of course Tony paid him no attention.
Do We Have a Remedy?
Slightly raising his voice, Tony says that when one stands for freedom and liberty, it must not be about one’s own interests, such as the right to work, the ability to pay rent or the accumulated bills. However, this is what he is now hearing from so many business owners who, suddenly are considering a quasi-defiance, after nine months and three shutdowns of compliance. Instead, it should have been and has to be about taking a stand for the grand picture, for America and what it represents, not about their needs to meet their necessities. Yet, it appears that way too many Americans suffer from the Stockholm syndrome, genuflecting to their abusers, the elected officials and the government of all its branches, out of constitutional line.
Some go as far as being willing and ready to obey any and all shutdown orders if the government pays their bills and bails them out of financial hardship. Shamefully, they are ready to sell their freedom for their own self-interest and needs.
“Now the restaurateurs came up with the #opensafe hashtag on Instagram. That is nonsense; that is a half measure. Hashtags don’t defeat the theft of freedom and do not protect the right to responsibly operate one’s business. It is a cry for the government’s mercy, ‘leave us alone,‘” Tony shakes his head wondering what is next from the subjugated crowd. He says that the hashtags should rather be #AttackandDestroyLockdowns or, at least, #OpenBoldly.
“For too long the American people compromised. They have given away their precious freedoms. Moving away inch by inch from the original inalienable freedom rights. When you defend the hill of freedom, and you compromise, you start the slide downward, giving away ground.” In Tony’s view, America has moved way too far from its core principles, that made it the beacon of a free society in the eyes of the world. He admits that it may be too late to save it.
“For many years we have allowed Americanism to slide so much, I feel we may now only be able to slow the process. I believe that the only hope to be able to turn it around 180 degrees is if American Patriots truly take to the streets by the millions and demand the return of our freedoms and traditions with zero compromise. And if denied, We, the People, impose our own penalties on those traitors who have taken them from us,” Tony describes what action is so badly needed, and fast.
“The goal at Basilico’s is ‘wire-to-wire’ win. To show others what they could have done that we have done. Ultimately, instead of surrendering anything, to make the enemies of freedom, the domestic enemy, our own government, to surrender to us, We, the People. To drop all legal cases and actions against any American citizen. My staff and I are looking to set an inspirational precedent to fight for our rights, instead of going the legal battle route. We leave the legal precedents to others, if so they choose. If every business in America had done what we have done here, and had done it from the get-go, the lockdowns would have ended within days. I have publicly called out our state governor, asking him if he believes in his tyranny as much as I believe in my American freedom. Then I said, file the charges against us, let us go head-to-head in criminal court, before a jury of our peers, and let us broadcast it for all Americans to see and hear. If not, then back off and get out of the way of all American business owners, stop interfering in the lives of all Americans.” This is how Tony sees his defense case for freedom.
In 1776, President George Washington would have punished most of today’s politicians for treason. Now they sell out the country with impunity, laughing in the faces of all American citizens.
End Goal, to Win!
It is not a simple case. The government wants to break Tony’s spirit so he succumbs to their control, their overreach and thus loses his liberty. But he will never surrender, and even relishes the challenge.
The kindred spirit gets people from all over California and other states to come to ‘Baslilico’s Pasta e Vino’ to indulge in the fabulous and authentic Italian cuisine and for a few hours inhale the atmosphere of the dining experience they were accustomed to that has been prohibited for months.
If every business in the United States was blessed to have a platform like this restaurant, to have a chance to make a difference, dedicating its business locations as what Tony calls, “a constitutional battleground,” the fight would have been over in one week or less. The country would have never been, infinitely, in shutdown mode.
“In this fight, you must lay it all on the line, risking everything. If one suffers a business loss, you can potentially recover it. But you can never recover from the loss of freedom. When it is taken away from you, it is never given back, it is gone forever,” is Tony’s opinion. We can certainly witness this phenomena anywhere in the world where tyranny hijacked freedom.
Tony’s Baslilico’s Pasta e Vino restaurant has become a special, meaningful place, owning a beautiful patriotic spirit. He makes a profound statement to me, “Someone asked me how I felt that so many people are coming to my restaurant to show support for my fight. As I stood looking over the crowd dining inside and those waiting for a table to become available, I thought to myself, God is blessing me because He knows that my stand is pure and true, and is a righteous one. Because of it, what happened from there on has been all organic.”
Fight For The Constitutional Republic
Tony has also been observing that in this fight women are much more fierce and ready to take on the battle than men, so it seems. They are action-oriented and are willing to sacrifice so much to do so. “I watched how my mother always fought and still fights for what she believes, so I should have never been surprised,” he explains his opinion about women’s fighting spirit background. They support the Constitutional Republic.
Tony’s message to all American business owners is, “if you fight without compromise, zero compliance, seeking nothing but unconditional victory, as we have done here, at ‘Baslilico’s Pasta e Vino’, we will all win! America will win. Start right now!”
“There is nothing more rewarding than having the opportunity to stand for your love of the flag and all it represents. I am blessed and proud to do it!” he asserts.
The fight for the constitutional republic is in everyone’s best interest.
Basilico’s Pasta e Vino
21501 Brookhurst St, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Phone Number (714) 963-7980