Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
The worst evils that affect our local government, he wrote to R. Fulton Cutting and his colleagues (even the names sound as if it were yesterday, not nearly twenty years ago), arise from and are the inevitable results of the mixing up of city affairs with the party politics of the Nation and of the State. The lines upon which National parties divide have no necessary connection with the business of the city;… such connection opens the way to countless schemes of public plunder and civic corruption. I very earnestly deprecate all attempts to introduce any class or caste feeling into the mayoralty contest. Laborers and capitalists alike are interested in having an honest and economical city government, and if elected I shall certainly strive to be the representative of all good citizens, paying heed to nothing whatever but the general well-being.
He was not elected, as I said. We were not yet grown to that. Non-partisanship in municipal politics was a poets dream, nice but so unsubstantial. It came true all the same in time, and it will stay true when we have dozed off a few times more and been roused up with the Tammany nightmare astride of us. Maybe then my other dream will come true,