Google has a funny way of sending seemingly unrelated searches to this site.  I received two queries today, probably from the same person:

    is california judge derek johnson a democrat or republican 1
    california judge derek johnson republican or democrat

    The reason is because of this post, because people have some kind of primal need to blame the bankruptcy of the City of San Bernardino on one of the national political parties. Of course in the case of the City of San Bernardino, “if you need someone to blame, throw a rock in the air, you’ll hit someone guilty.”

    To blame partisan politics for the comments of an Orange County Superior Court Judge seem silly, as well.  In California, judicial elections are non-partisan, like other local races.  With the Top Two Primary System, arguably everything but presidential primaries are non-partisan, or at least post-partisan.

    There appears to be a need to collectively punish a political party for statements made by one Judge, who has already been publicly admonished by the California Commission on Judicial Performance.  Because California has judicial elections,a contender may run against the judge, and the people will ultimately decide whether the judge is fit for the bench.

    The key problem with partisanship is it is a devolution in to tribalism not different than the petty tit-for-tat found with street gangs or the endless war in Afghanistan.  As I mentioned before, this is what President George Washington had to warn about in his Farewell Address:

     Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

    This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

    Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

    It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection

    Hopefully, California can move past a system where your party affiliation means that your vote on issues is automatically in line with the dictates of national interests, and Californians can work together to fix the problems that face all Californians.  Once we heal our state and local governments, we can again serve as a model to the rest of the country.

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