12/05/2010 05:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Almost an Independent

I remember the moment I decided to vote for then Senator Barack Obama for president. He was loosening up behind the three-point line in a gym packed with soldiers. I remember thinking, "Under the best of circumstances that's a forty percent make." With pressure, and I assumed that shooting hoops while being filmed by the national media was pressure, the odds of missing soared.

Obama nailed it.

And right then and there he won my vote.

My wife suggested if I voted for the junior senator from Illinois it should be based on something more substantive than a jump shot, say bringing home all the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, or creating jobs, or helping the poor. But I'm a basketball junkie and I figured that anyone who could nail one from downtown under those circumstances would perform coolly and boldly in every conceivable situation.

But like so many progressives, my patience with my president is running out.

Not that the White House is going to panic that my occasional $25 donation to the Democratic National Committee will cease. Not that they will notice that this morning I sent $10 to ActBlue to pay for ads to pressure senators to end the Bush tax cuts. I'm just a guy in LA, a public school teacher, who has voted Democratic for forty-one years, save for when I moved to California in 1980 and registered as a Republican so I could vote for Illinois Rep. John B. Anderson against Ronald Reagan in the presidential primary. Following that vote, I quickly re-registered as a democrat.

But if the White House agrees to any deal that extends the Bush tax cuts, unless such a deal would prevent an imminent nuclear war, I will leave the political party that my parents cherished and that I believed, until recently, cared deeply about the middle class, the working class, and the poor. I will leave the party that I felt has stood on the right side of the most important political issues of my lifetime: civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, ending the Viet Nam War, curbing presidential abuse of power, helping the needy, protecting the environment, and making college education more affordable for the have-nots.

If President Obama agrees to a deal that would give the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch and Alex Rodriguez healthy tax cuts that will be paid for by my children's generation and their children's generation, then the Democratic Party is not the one I so proudly registered with as an 18-year old liberal growing up in Texas.

I won't, as a protest move, register with the Green Party, though I believe in their platform. I don't believe third parties will make a positive difference in American anytime soon.

I'll just fill out the form to become an Independent; I'm assuming I can do it on line, and probably chastise myself for a long time to come for not seeing past that jump shot and voting for Hillary.