On July 20 The Signal published a column by Joshua Heath entitled “A Democrat’s defense of the GOP,” in which the author described what he perceived as the beneficial effects of the essentially two-party system of our political structure in this country. The problem with his thesis is that the traditional Democrat Party he described is virtually non-existent today, having been hijacked by far-left extremists who seem to be obsessed with destroying our social order and cultural norms. Heath, a college student, has effectively described the political order that existed when I was his age. That was a very long time ago. In my opinion this country is currently engaged in a civil war every bit as intense and fundamental as the one that took place in the 1860s, the only difference being that – thankfully – much less blood has been shed … so far. The transformation of the Democrat Party into what it’s become today began with the radical left of the 1960s, with the Vietnam War and race relations being the pivotal issues of the time. If there’s a watershed event, it was the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago. I encourage everyone to research that event. There had already been riots over race relations, but they’d been primarily carried out by minorities. The lesson for the radical left that the Democrat Convention debacle illustrated was that mainstream Middle American whites could also riot, and that the rioting could have a profound influence on the policy decisions of that party. LBJ withdrew from the election; the Dems nominated his VEEP Humphrey, and on the Republican side of the action Nixon was elected in a solid repudiation of LBJ’s policies on the Vietnam War. And so the fuse was lit. Over time, the left and right drove further apart, and rioting and other forms of bad behavior became a standard tool of the left. And one has to be honest and acknowledge that you just don’t see equivalent behavior of that scale from the right. Further, the prevailing ideology of the left also moved steadily further toward radicalism, with formerly “mainstream” liberalism being more and more marginalized. There’s a cliché that in today’s political climate, Democratic icon JFK would actually be a Republican, and frankly, it’s true. That alone symbolizes the changes that have taken place to the Democratic Party. The reality is that Washington’s political landscape, particularly in the Democrat Party, has been warped and distorted by the rise to prominence of the radical left in that party. This country is incredibly polarized. In my opinion, as I said earlier, Heath’s view is reflective of a political landscape that existed decades ago but is nowhere to be found today. Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.