Mt. Vernon Register-News


May 1, 2014

State self-esteem problems

Illinois is a terrific place to live.

At least that is what I thought 15 years ago when I moved back to my home state after a stint as a reporter in Las Vegas.

The weather leaves a bit to be desired, but folks here are pretty down to earth.

And there is a certain Midwestern sensibility here that I haven’t found in other places I’ve lived, such as Texas and Nevada.

So imagine my amazement when I read a Gallup poll this past week that says one-fourth of all Illinoisans believe they live in the worst place in America.

Yeah, one out of four think the Prairie State is as bad as it gets.

By comparison, only 1 percent of Iowans say that about their state.

With so many self-esteem issues, perhaps it’s time for Illinoisans to collectively lay down on a therapist’s couch and share our woes.

One can almost hear our collective neuroses coming to light:

“Well, doctor, we had faulty father figures. You know: Blagojevich, Ryan, Walker and that other fella who went to prison — Kerner. And, doctor, we have trust issues. Our politicians lie to us. They will tell us a tax hike is temporary and then turn around and try to make it permanent.”

One can almost picture a therapist sagely nodding and saying, “Do you think you may bring some of these problems on yourself?”

“Well, doctor, we keep finding ourselves attracted to the wrong kind of people.”

Other states don’t have this “woe is us” mindset.

For example, 75 percent of Alaskans and Montanans rank their state No. 1.

Perennially proud Texas has 68 percent of its residents say their state is tops.

So why are we Illinoisans so down in the dumps out our home?

Well, much of it has to do with the way we are governed.

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