Martha’s Vineyard, Bad Tacos and Making America (a) Great (taco) Again.

I live on an island. Or at least, for the time being I do. When I first moved back here after a 5 year hiatus, I spent approximately a month and a half (give or take 55 days) living in my car. Some people really enjoy this “living in their automobile” thing. The difference is, they typically do it in large converted vans. I did it in a Honda Accord. The worst part is that it wasn’t for lack of ability to rent a place to live. I had budgeted over a twelve hundred dollars a month to rent a room. There was simply nothing available. I went to look at one place that opened up and it was 800 dollars a month, to sleep in a garage with seven other people on prison style bunk beds; the provided amenities were an outdoor shower, a microwave and a port-a-potty. Needless to say I opted to stay in the car. But the larger problem is the fact that these are the options provided to the working people on this  island. I used to truly enjoy my summers on Martha’s Vineyard. Unfortunately the greed of home owners on this island has turned it into a place that will cause its own downfall if it continues to price out the true artisans of the tourism industries that keep the island economy afloat.

One can only eat so many terrible slices or what should barely be allowed to maintain the title of pizza. And don’t get me started on tacos. I love tacos more than I think is humanly possible. They are joyous and delicious, and the best part is they’re simple. So how can a place with such tremendous resources and wealthy clientele, accept such a poor showing of working class cuisine? We have already discussed how the working artisan is being chased out. The next question is: do the people who eat this increasingly pitiful food actually think it is good? I am a college graduate. I lived on cheap tacos, late night pizza and macaroni and cheese. These days I am a working professional with the means to eat considerably better. There will however be a place in my heart for my college cuisine and moreso the love of food that comes from the brilliant minds that realized that pizza and tacos are wonderful and now that we can afford better food as adults, we don’t need to stop eating pizza and tacos, we can (and should) make BETTER pizza and tacos. Just over a month ago I threw away over half a pizza. It was at its most true definition, the worst pizza I have ever had the displeasure of eating. In college, I order late night pizza, slide the uneaten half under my bed, and wake up and eat it for breakfast in the morning. Just as an example of what it would take for me to actually throw away a pizza. I can’t even bring myself to be heartbroken like that over the recent lack of respectable tacos in my life.

If you are still reading this even though I haven’t included any pictures to entice the compromised attention span, kudos and thanks. Way to hold it down for literates everywhere.

Never in my life have I eaten a taco and thought to myself, “this is by far the most flavorful and best taco ever, this will be unmatched forever.” I have had great tacos. There are two great taco spots in Denver that keeps me coming back for more and a wonderful taco truck that parks down on South Broadway in Denver serving some serious goodness to the late night bar crowd down there. There is also a great taco spot in Broadripple Village in Indianapolis, IN that has put a tremendously delightful asian twist on their family recipe. (I am leaving out the names intentionally. Go find your own spots you mooches[kidding-kinda].) The point is there isn’t some taco from the past that has determined what all tacos should be. And I think we should adopt this mentality when looking at our political sphere. Call it Eric’s Taco Politics.

I’m American. My ancestry is Irish and Cherokee, but I am American. I was born here, raised here, might not stay here, but this is where I learned about life, love, girls, mountains, rock climbing, driving fast, camping, music, sex and tacos. America has done some amazingly great things: the internet, Marvel Comics, the car, transcontinental railroad, jazz, flight, a network of individual states that operate as a union while still maintaining many of their own values and cultures. These are all pretty amazing things. But every time America was doing something great, we were also dealing with our own chaotic failures, misgivings, or plainly bad, hateful decision making at the very same time. Things like the massacre of the native people of this country, or the burning of young women in the north east. Remember that time our country split in half and we started shooting each other? There was all that slavery stuff, which then turned into racism (still some moron’s holding on to that one). Then we have class warfare, which is disguised as racism (that’s like playing two games at once). See if we can make another list here: McCarthyism, Japanese internment camps, Chinese slaves dying in railroad tunnels, child labor, the great depression, the Vietnam war, our outrageous incarceration rate, tendency to spend more on weapons than food for the homeless, 52% of the movies that were made in the 80’s, pop country…I challenge you to find a time period after the ratification of our country that we weren’t at war, oppressing a gender or race, milking money from the working class, or taking advantage of another country. Which one of these do we desire to return to when we Make American Great “Again”? America was never great. We have done great things and we have great potential. Let us not return to the past and repeatedly relive our mistakes. Rather let us move forward with what we know is wrong and with what we had to learn was wrong. An honest view of the past does not spoil our future, it provides us the strength that we can continue to do great things and put more and more distance between the not so great things.

Like tacos, sometimes I eat a taco from Taco Bell and I regret it. Other times I eat wonderful tacos from people passionate about the food and I am in heaven. As I get older, I eat less of that shit from Taco Bell. However, I don’t pretend that I never did. I just finally realized that putting in the effort towards eating a good taco was considerably more beneficial than continuing to eat Taco Bell, pretending that I wasn’t and then having to waste more time dealing with the aftermath.

Eat well my friends.




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