Although Christmas has past, three spirits continue to roam the streets of Johnson City. The first is the misplaced, rancorous spirit of City Councilman Wayne Pittman. The second is the great spirit of the classical Greek philosopher, Socrates. The third is the confused spirit of cognitive dissonance.
The first spirit, Mr. Pittman, who I voted for, is and has been waging a personal war against City Administrator, David Dockery, since his election to City council. I recently experienced Mr. Pittman verbally attacking Mr. Dockery (Dockery was not present) in a public place here in town. His loud, angry rant was absolutely personal in nature and was full of accusations. Pittman’s outburst was made in the presence of four local business owners. Mr. Pittman appeared to have started his tenure on the city council with noble intentions but has degenerated to a hysterical, ineffective muckraker. The job of the city council is to administrate the city and promote and foster positive growth and change. Mr. Pittman’s presence on the council at the present time is disruptive and counter to positive, effective governance.
The second spirit, Socrates, is roaming around trying to get the ear of anyone who will listen, few will. Socrates is credited with being one of the early commentators on ethics, personal and political. Some of his more pertinent quotes are:
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
The third spirit, cognitive dissonance, is defined as, “In modern psychology, cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.” Wikipedia This simply means that the human mind can’t simultaneously and comfortably hold that something is bad and good – it must be one or the other. It is my opinion that, concerning current city politics, Johnson City is suffering from a bad case of cognitive dissonance. It is very unclear to many as to the goodness or badness of individuals and events. Public opinion is being steered by cognitive dissonance.
I believe it’s time for a comprehensive airing of the grievances and facts concerning the crusade of Councilman Wayne Pittman. I would suggest anyone with information or thoughts on this write letters to the editor.