Sergey Brin: Put out 'giant bonfire of partisanship'

The Google co-founder asks elected officials to withdraw from their political parties so they can spend energy on constructive government rather than attacking one other.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
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Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Project Glass computerized eyewear at the Google I/O show in 2012.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Project Glass computerized eyewear at the Google I/O show in 2012. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Dipping his toes into political waters, Google co-founder Sergey Brin today asked elected officials to withdraw from their parties so the United States can move beyond what he sees as a political climate crippled by hostility.

"I must confess, I am dreading today's elections...because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship," Brin said in a Google+ post early on Election Day in the United States.

Brin pleaded that winners of today's elections therefore ditch their political parties so they can be more constructive:

It is ironic since whenever I have met with our elected officials they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people. And yet collectively 90 percent of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other party.

So my plea to the victors -- whoever they might be: please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit. It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country.

Brin's plea isn't the first time he's tried taking a stand in the political realm. Brin, whose family were refuseniks who managed to leave the Soviet Union when he was a boy, also has taken a leading role in two issues involving censorship: Google's withdrawal from operations in China and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). According to OpenSecrets.org's database, Brin contributed more than $30,000 to the Democratic party and Obama campaign in October 2011.

His wish to move beyond today's bipartisan system seems unlikely to come to fruition, with the country's long history of bipartisanship and ideological positions that aren't necessarily dictated by party affiliation. But thinking big has served Google well when it comes to technology, so maybe Brin thinks the approach has some merit in politics, too.