When Marco Gutierrez announced on live TV that more Mexican immigrants in the U.S. would lead to “taco trucks on every corner,” a glorious punchline was born.
“My culture is a very dominant culture. Its imposing, and its causing problems. If you dont do something about it, youre going to have taco trucks on every corner,” he said.
Gutierrez was born in Mexico, and he’s the founder of Latinos for Trump. And his comment was meant to be insulting. It mocked the hardworking people, most of whom happen to be Latino, who own and operate taco trucks across the country.
But his misfired comment went viral not only because of its ridiculous nature, but also because it put a huge spotlight on narrow-minded thinking.
In response to his comment, people came out in droves to support taco trucks. They turned what could have been a negative fallout against Latinos and their taco trucks into a positive movement.
Here are five of the most hopeful, fun, and epic responses to Gutierrez’s unfortunate “taco truck” comment:
1. Trump said Mexicans don’t work. But one couple wanted to show otherwise.
When Trump paid a visit to Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit on Sept. 3, 2016, one couple was ready to work their butts off and make some money.
Their taco truck had become a symbol, both figuratively and literally, of mockery, at least within the Trump campaign. But Nancy Paz and Jose Badajoz (pictured below) still set up their Tacos El Caballo truck near Trump’s big event. They told Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta that they did it to provide a counterpoint to the insulting rhetoric implied in the taco truck comments.
“Because Donald say the Mexican people, they doesn’t work,” Paz said. “We come here to say, yes, we work hard, for the family.”
2. How about registering to vote with a side of tacos?
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce saw Gutierrez’s insulting taco truck comments and raised him their very own Guac the Vote campaign, where people can register to vote at taco trucks. How do you like them, er, tacos?
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce represents 4.1 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the U.S., and Guac the Vote will be promoted mostly on social media using the hashtag #GuacTheVote. Check it out, it’s pretty fun.
3. Let them eat tacos (as voters hit the polls in November)!
Hey, if tacos means more people casting their votes in November, I’m all about it. Apparently so is the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Not only do they want taco trucks to have the ability to register people to vote, but they also want them stationed outside polling sites.
It would be a symbolic visual response to the negative connotation Gutierrez tried to attach to taco trucks and the people who operate them.
Albert Morales, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of government affairs, told The Washington Post that the accidental recruiting of new voters by taco truck venders is “ideal” because people love tacos, and they’ll gladly wait in line to get them making it easier to fill out paperwork and such.
4. Then there’s the economy. Wanna “taco” ’bout it?
The Washington Post played devil’s advocate with what Gutierrez was suggesting and came to the realization, via estimation, that there are around 322,000 intersections with traffic signals in the U.S. and about nine intersections without signals for each of those. A taco truck at every intersection (not corner) would mean 3.2 million taco trucks.
There are differing numbers when it comes to how many taco trucks are operated in the U.S. Some have the figure as high as 3 million, meaning we wouldn’t necessarily notice if more popped up. Others suggest the number of taco trucks is way higher 15 million to be exact. But that’s not the point.
Gutierrez suggested that taco trucks on every corner would be a bad thing, but he’s sorely mistaken from an economic perspective. Assuming each taco truck at each estimated intersection needs at least three workers, that would mean at least 9.6 million jobs. Our country could be at almost full employment. Imagine that.
5. That one time a mean-spirited comment brought the community even closer together.
There’s also the one underlying factor that Gutierrez didn’t count on or seem to remember as he was spouting his political nonsense. When anybody comes after the Latino community as a whole, we’re going to come together even stronger and respond.
Shortly after Gutierrez’ now infamous comment, democrats in Colorado set up a taco truck outside Trump’s Denver campaign office. The intention was to have people line up for tacos, register to vote, and talk with others there about what’s at stake in this upcoming election.
Other democratic offices also started taking ownership of the comments and turning them into a positive, too, like this:
To say Gutierrez’s comments were a fail is a “yuuuuge” understatement.
Instead, they spawned memes and became the punchline of way too many jokes. In short, because people are awesome, his opinion actually did the opposite of what he intended. He made a lot of us realize that taco trucks on every corner is perhaps not such a bad idea at all.
In all seriousness, Latinos have a whole lot more to offer this country than just delicious tortillas filled with all kinds of savory ingredients that make your mouth water and your taste buds happy … but those delicious tortillas aren’t a bad place to start.
So thank you, Marco Gutierrez. My next Taco Tuesday margarita cheers will go out to you.