Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 414
Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 414
dreamers in all days: when will the millennium come? It will come when every man is a Patrick Mullen at his own trade; not merely a P. Mullen, but a Patrick Mullen. The millennium of municipal politics, when there shall be no slum to fight, will come when every citizen does his whole duty as a citizen, not before. As long as he “despises politics,” and deputizes another to do it for him, whether that other wears the stamp of a Croker or of a Platt,—it matters little which,—we shall have the slum, and be put periodically to the trouble and the shame of draining it in the public sight. A citizen’s duty is one thing that cannot be farmed out safely; and the slum is not limited by the rookeries of Mulberry or Ludlow streets. It has long roots that feed on the selfishness and dulness of Fifth Avenue quite as greedily as on the squalor of the Sixth Ward. The two are not nearly so far apart as they look.
Athletic Meets in Crotona Park.
  I am not saying this because it is anything new, but because we have had, within the memory of us all, an illustration of its truth in municipal politics. Waring and Roosevelt were the Patrick Mullens of the reform administration which Tammany replaced with her insolent platform, “To hell with reform!” It was not an ideal administration, but it can be said of it, at least, that it was up to the times it served. It made compromises with spoils



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