The guy in the photo who looks terrified of black people is Oklahoma State Representative Paul Wesselhöft from Moore. When he's not voting with his Republican colleagues, impersonating Old Man Withers from Wayne's World, or forcing bloggers to figure out how to type an umlaut, he moderates some weird online group called Socrates on Facebook.
Here's a snippet from the group's mission statement:
Socrates on Facebook (SOF) is a forum for discussing the serious questions of the day. This site is developed by Paul Wesselhöft but inspired by Eric Metaxas whose work with Socrates in the City is a great success in NYC.
Socrates, the Greek philosopher said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Using this statement as our model, we invite facebook friends to publish serious (conservative, moderate & liberal) articles, essays, poems or extended comments.
We expect clashing ideas, openness, and a learning experience. We ask for civil discussion; therefore, we will not accept hate, directed profanity, directed antisemitism, racism, bigotry, or name calling.
That sounds interesting. Clashing ideas. Openness. Learning. And all of it done in a civil tone that's void of racism, bigotry or name calling. Let's take a look at a recent example:
Yeah, I'm sure Socrates would write the exact same thing if he were alive today.
I bet a lot of you are going to say this isn't a big deal and that free speech is dead. It's not like he told his Facebook friends to no longer hang out with Magic Johnson or something.
If you think that, consider three things:
1. The tone of the post. The guy is being sarcastic, right? He's obviously complaining about political correctness and not being "allowed" to freely use the N-word. And even if he was being genuine, you can't use the real word! You're an old white politician! You're not kicking it at Scissorhand's Barber Shop.
2. He went out of his way to use the actual N-word. I bet he got a conservative boner from that. Re-read the post and you'll notice the "example" paragraph that includes the N-word isn't even needed to make his point. His "New Rule" was quite clear. Socrates on Facebook members are longer allowed to use the N-word even if used in a historical context. Of course, the obvious follow up question to that is "Was that a problem? Were people just replying to each other with quotes from Huckleberry Finn or Pulp Fiction? Is Socrates code for Aryan Nation or something?
3. He also left this comment:
Yeah, but know what's really racist and offensive? How about an out-of-touch white lawmaker to use those words on Facebook. Also, didn't they guy just make a new rule that you couldn't use the N-word in any historical context? What an asshat.
Anyway, I guess if you want to talk to Mr. Wesselhöft about the historical context of the N-word or Socrates or his amusement park, send him an email or call him (405) 557-7343. I'm sure he'd like to hear from you.