Ayo Kimathi, an African-American, is an acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( a section of the Department of Homeland Security), and has been, apparently without incident, since 2009. He also operates and authors a web site, War on the Horizon, which predicts an “unavoidable, inevitable clash with the white race,” and explains how to prepare for it.
The latter fact is none of the government’s business, nor yours, nor mine, and certainly not that of Sarah Palin, who in her own inimitable style of making ignorance catchy and cute, exclaimed on her Facebook page, “His side ‘job’ running the ‘War On the Horizon’ website was reportedly approved by supervisors. Really, Fed? Really? Unflippingbelievable!”
No, it’s not. You can scour the government regulations and ethics requirements all you want—I have (Palin hasn’t.) There is nothing in them that prohibits a government employee in the Executive branch from espousing any political position he pleases, or that bans outside activities that do not interfere with the duties of the employee or constitute a conflict of interest. Nor should there be. As I read the rules, Kimathi had no obligation to ask permission to run his website, because his supervisor had no authority to stop him.
It is called freedom of speech, my friends.
Deal with it. Or rather, cherish it.
True,the inflammatory website criticizes whites, gays, those of mixed race, and blacks who integrate with whites. Those opinions may be ugly, but they are legal. Hate is legal. Stupidity is legal. All are protected by the Constitution. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which will often designate as a “hate group” organizations that dare to oppose its generally virtuous goals, flagged Kimathi’s role in running the site, and he was promptly put on paid administrative leave. The website is irrelevant to Kimathi’s performance of his duties, which he appears to do well, or well enough. A private organization could fire him for creating embarrassment and negative opinions about its business, but the Federal government may not. This case was made for the ACLU; let’s see if they take it.
Frankly, it should be far more disturbing to us that our government moves to punish an employee because the Southern Poverty Law Center finds his opinions hateful than the fact that an acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement thinks there is going to be a race war. He has a sacred right to espouse whatever beliefs he chooses outside the workplace. A government, however, that seeks to punish citizens within its authority for what they say and write is abusing power, chilling expression, and a menace to democracy.