Here we go again.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, while attending a governors' conference in Washington over the weekend, said Pennsylvania's big problem is "low self-esteem."
This, naturally, drew immediate fire from the other side. State Senate Republican Leader Jake Corman said Wolf is blaming the people of the state for its challenges, adding, "It is insulting to Pennsylvanians who get up every day and work hard for their families."
No it's not.
It's another in a series of truth-telling that partisan pols want to twist to their advantage.
It's something we've seen before. In 1979, President Carter famously spoke to the nation about its "crisis of confidence." This was later dubbed his "malaise" speech, even though he never said "malaise."
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said the same thing in 2013 (ironically, at a governors' conference). He said the nation was enduring a "crisis of confidence."
He was right. Carter was right. Wolf is right.
But it's not a knock on the people of Pennsylvania or the people of America. It's a knock on our leaders.
Harrisburg and Washington, through years of self-serving, self-protective political gamesmanship insult citizens by refusing to act in the interest of the common good, opting instead to put their own interests first and foremost.
Wolf has correctly and often spoken of the need of our elected leaders to restore confidence in government, to give people reasons to vote, reasons to believe things can get better, reasons to be more involved in democracy.
This is a steep climb, especially in Pennsylvania, a place I frequently label The Land of Low Expectations.
There are reasons our state is the least progressive northeastern state in (pick your issue) voting rules, judicial elections, campaign financing, public corruption, redistricting reforms, legislative reforms, partisanship, parochialism, etc., etc.
And there are reason our people have little faith that Pennsylvania can even begin to live up to its heritage as the keystone among states.
Those reasons are directly tied to the failure of elected officials to tell the truth, put general rather than special interests first and inspire belief that government can make lives of citizens better.