Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen > Page 59
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen.  1904.

Page 59
 
alone. I was absolutely deserted. The people did n’t understand. The men from Erie, from Suffolk, from anywhere, would not work with me. ‘He won’t listen to anybody,’ they said, and I would not. My isolated peak had become a valley; every bit of influence I had was gone. The things I wanted to do I was powerless to accomplish. What did I do? I looked the ground over and made up my mind that there were several other excellent people there, with honest opinions of the right, even though they differed from me. I turned in to help them, and they turned to and gave me a hand. And so we were able to get things done. We did not agree in all things, but we did in some, and those we pulled at together. That was my first lesson in real politics. It is just this: if you are cast on a desert island with only a screw-driver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat with, why, go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you have n’t. So with men. Here is my friend in Congress who is a good man, a strong man, but cannot be made to believe in some things which I trust. It is too bad that he does n’t look at it as I do, but he does not, and

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