To the Readers' Forum:
In January of 1969, unbeknownst to family or friends, I traveled to Washington, D.C,. in a car pool with a number of radicals, strangers all, from Indiana for the purpose of rioting at the Nixon inauguration. On the trip I listened to the radicals talk, revealing their identities, life stories, and attitudes. They were not particularly pleasant or impressive people.
The riots and protests seemed well organized. Driving directions had been issued. Signs were provided. Advice and instructions were abundant. The masses of out of town protesters were typically, like my group, housed very comfortably in the homes of well to do local liberals.
The radicals bought every newspaper they saw and hungrily read them searching for mention of themselves. Unable to tolerate the hideous music they preferred, I had pulled a wire on the rental car radio. The deprivation of news possibly about themselves drove them literally crazy.
Our liberal hosts were a gracious, dignified, and pleasant older couple who stayed out of our way. We all were impressed by their large, elegant home and obvious wealth. You might suspect my companions would be young louts who would neglect to say ''thank you.'' Actually it was considerably worse.
''When The Revolution comes,'' said one of them, referring to the worldwide holocaust all the radicals of that time expected, ''this cat's really gonna get it!''
They all grinned. Gratitude, like respect for life and property and other moral virtues was considered bourgeois decadence and weakness by the Old Left. The New Left was equally barbaric without the French. And they had their own ideas of how to ''spread the wealth around.''
The New Left at that time, having failed the previous year in its first attempt to ignite the blood bath Revolution, was openly working for defeat of America in the Viet Nam War. They had a slogan, ''Bring the war home,'' meaning they considered themselves a domestic arm of the enemy forces. In the early '70s they bombed targets including the U. S. Capitol building and the Pentagon.
These were not your grandfather's Democrats, but they dominate the party today.
Norman P. Carlson