Identity politics continue to roil the state.

The Sacramento Bee reported the motivation behind the death of a non-controversial bill in the legislature was payback against Asian American legislators who dropped their backing for SCA 5, a bill to restore affirmative action, after the Asian American community protested.

The rejected bill had to do with electric vehicles using high-occupancy vehicle lanes but members of the Black Caucus and the Latino Legislative Caucus found fault with the bill they previously found inoffensive. Could it have to do with the Asian American author, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi?

Sen. Holly Mitchell, head of the Black Caucus seemed to confirm that. The Bee recorded her response about the rejection of the bill as being a form of payback this way: “Perhaps,” Mitchell said, adding that lawmakers who believe in restoring affirmative action are concerned “that there is a lack of commitment to a core Democratic party priority.”

Then we have the case of Brendan Eich. The man who invented JavaScript and helped start Mozilla which runs the web portal Firefox was forced out of his new job as head of Mozilla because he made a $1000 donation in support of Prop 8 to prevent gay marriage.

I didn’t side with Eich’s position on that proposition when it was on the ballot but he should not lose his job for expressing a political opinion, an opinion shared by Barack Obama when he ran for president. I doubt I’d lose money if I bet the same folks who demanded Eich lose his job voted for Obama.

In the California of today simply expressing your view – free speech, if you will — can get you ostracized. Proof, by the way, to those non-believing editorial board members I’ve come across that claim that someone expressing their views through donating to a cause would not be subject to harassment.

E Pluribus Unum, the motto of the United States, says: Out of many, One. While the motto originally referred to many states being one nation, the meaning has been widely accepted to mean, out of many diverse peoples comes one public.

In California, however, unity seems to fragment like a dividing cell.

The poet Maya Angelou had it right when she said, “Won’t it be wonderful when black history and native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.”

Two decades ago, Pulitzer Prize winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote a book, titled The Disuniting of America, which warned of the perils of the fragmentation and tribalization in American life. While Schlesinger argued correctly that ethnic awareness is positive offering overdue recognition to the achievement and culture of different groups, in other words the positives of emphasizing diversity, he warned of the dangers of excess.

Apparently, that excess is taking hold in California. If you don’t believe me listen to the words of senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg who reacted to the legislative mischief of retribution mentioned above this way: “The way that this debate and discussion has been had so far shows the danger in deliberately trying to divide people along racial and ethnic lines.”

Two decades after Schlesinger raised his warning flag, the push toward identity politics is playing out in the progressive, liberal state of California.