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Of Perceptions–Politics and Integrity
Leininger’s Point to Point column "Of Agnew, Surveyors and Kickbacks" [Oct 2007] was a refreshing change of topic not usually found in any of our professional journals. And it is no small irony that we consider ourselves above the political fray. If this exposé disturbed the sensibilities of some–good! If it jarred some of us from our apathy toward government, that is even better. Of late, numerous folks, professionals not excluded, have confused love of country and patriotism with Americana (mom, apple pie, Chevrolet, etc.) While I certainly love those things as well, there is a glaring difference. Former Vice President Agnew saw no problem with certain ambiguities and would not have allowed the Press (those "nattering nabobs of negativism" as he termed them) to even question him. After all, to some, perceptions were more important than precepts. It goes to integrity!

I do recall the time quite well. In 1973, my ultra-conservative community ignored these troubling national issues because they did not want to believe their perceptions about their party of choice could be in such error. Instead, the PPB disaster rocked local news coverage–regarding the flame retardant that somehow got mixed in with cattle feed. This was our "beef," and a joke having poor taste arose about not being able to get a steak too well done. Locally, the issue of what to do with the community library was the most newsworthy. This was an "extreme issue" by the summer of the following year. What else could possibly be going on in the nation that warranted more attention? Well, that’s another story! At any rate, thanks for the interesting article–this is not the kind of information I would have ever received from local press.
John McLane, LS
Big Rapids, MI

Editor’s Note: We couldn’t resist revisiting some of the most memorable Agnewisms:

"Some newspapers are fit only to line the bottom of bird cages."

"Three things have been difficult to tame: the oceans, fools and women. We may soon be able to tame the oceans; fools and women will take a little longer."

"I didn’t say I wouldn’t go into ghetto areas. I’ve been in many of them and to some extent I would say this; if you’ve seen one city slum, you’ve seen them all."

"An intellectual is a man who doesn’t know how to park a bike."

"In the United States today, we have more than our share of nattering nabobs of negativism."

"A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

"They have formed their own 4-H club­the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."

"The lessons of the past are ignored and obliterated in a contemporary antagonism known as the generation gap."

Got some feedback? We always enjoy hearing from our readers. You can contact us via our website at www., or send a letter to: The American Surveyor, P.O. Box 4162, Frederick, MD 21705-4162. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Due to the variety of titles used by licensed surveyors throughout the U.S., we use the title LS after the name of any registered land surveyor.

A 75Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE