As a senior though uncredentialed member of the Mainstream News and Infotainment Media (that's MNIM, pronounced mmm-nim, for short), we must again bound far ahead of the baying pack to boldly point out that the spectre of nativism has reared its somewhat uncomely head* in the Texas gubernatorial race. Given that this year marks the first time that a Palestinian-American Muslim (or ex-Muslim, depending on audience and day of the week) ex-hairdresser-turned-hair-care-products-manufacturer has sought the seat once held by such worthies as "Ma" Ferguson and G.W. Bush, perhaps it was to be expected that some candidate would rise up to declare that he is more of an "American" than the others. Perhaps not as expected, that candidate is not Deborah Medina (she's just like you, FYI) but is none other than Farouk Shami, the Palestinian-American Muslim (or ex-Muslim, depending on etc.) ex-hairdresser-turned-hair-care-products-manufacturer himself.
We first learned of this semi-revoltin' development from the Jan. 15, 2009 edition of the Indo American News [sic, no apparent hyphen], which we procure on a weekly basis while on culinary business in Our Town's newly designated Mahatma Ghandi District. According to the News' extensive page one coverage, Sr. Shami wrapped himself all up in red, white and blue back on Jan. 8, when he declared, "I am more American than others [and added] It is 'old thinking' versus 'new thinking,' and now is the time to make a difference" [punctuation corrected] while speaking to what the publication described as a "small group of influential Asian leasers--many South Asian––and media." The News did not elaborate on the Shami Man's claim, but fortunately Peggy Fikac of the Chronicle picked up the news-and-infotainment baton on Jan, 24 and reported with a straight face that that El Shami
reaches into his business background to discuss his current quest, including when he speaks against the notion that “one person is more … American than the other” based on whether the person was born here.
I would judge it by who pays more taxes, me or Rick Perry? Me or Bill White? Every year, I pay more than they ever made in their life. … And since I'm paying taxes, I'll be careful spending people's taxes.”
So that's it! Well, step to the front of line, Mr. Alleged Inventor of Amonia-Free Hair Lightener and of course the world-famous CHI Flat Iron. Perhaps only Bill Gates and Warren Buffet outrank the Faroukster when it comes to being a red-blooded American, although it's likely they have better tax accountants. (We should point out that as far as we know, no other gubernatorial candidate has raised the Fikac-ian "notion" that "one person is more ... American than the other," including Shami's fellow Democrat, Bill White––most certainly not Bill White. We also call your attention to the fact that Shami is actually running a seriously nasty slash-and-burn campaign against White [although not on the scale or with the interest-generation of the Hutchsion-vs.-Perry doings, of course], including, according to this straight-faced report from the Dallas Morning News, Shami's in-so-many-words accusation that White is a racist. Now we find it humorously ironic when white Democrats are hoisted on their own affirmative-action and identity-politics petards––ask Chris Bell, D-Houston, about his two rough hoistings––but this allegation is just patently ridiculous, undocumented BS, if you'll pardon our language.)
The unhyphenated Indo American News went on to report that while speaking to these influential Asians (we did not see Aloysius D. Hoang among their photographed number, in case you were wondering) and South Asians, Shami also
... reprimanded Governor Rick Perry for being out of touch with common people, citing his $12 million ranch and his son's lavish wedding in Las Vegas.
His son's lavish wedding in Las Vegas** ... yes, we must conclude that Farouk Shami is a real American boy, as acclimated to the soil as any 6th-generation Texas taxpayer, a regular William Jennings Bryan with a CHI Flat Iron.
*As regular and even semi-regular visitors to this place know, we are not of the opinion that "nativism" is an entirely bad thing, and at any rate consider it a poorly understood and badly misused term, facilely employed by agenda-bearing gum-beaters and fund-raising hacks to discredit those who might simply believe that English should be the sole language of instruction in the public schools––it's an assimilatin' thing––or that immigration is fine and even necessary so long as it's legal and accrues some benefit to those of us already here; said gum-beaters' prejudices having been conditioned by passing and superficial understanding of over-simplified and somewhat discredited Hofstadter-ian notions of American history.
**Which speaks to nothing more than Perry's taste, or lack thereof.
Photo above: Shami Does Brooklyn; photo lifted from some Web site about hair care in Brooklyn and used without permission (so sue me).