When District 4 Councilwoman Heather Post first took office, I supported everything she represented – a counterpoint to the entrenched status quo, an emerging maverick who refused to be pigeonholed or forced into lockstep conformity by the ‘Good ol’ Boy’ network that has controlled everything but the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide here on the Fun Coast for decades.
I didn’t have much hope for the rest of those dullards on the dais – but I put a lot of faith in Ms. Post.
She became a political punching bag – the target of her “colleagues” political ire as they tried desperately to pound a square peg into the round hole of conformity – and a lightening rod for time-wasting controversy.
I am still enamored with the ideal Ms. Post represented to many – an independent voice who seeks the truth, serves in the public interest, stands up to political bullies, embraces the concept of fairness and fights mightily to give taxpayers a true voice in their government.
To many, she was our best hope for something resembling a representative democracy.
Then, I watched as she slowly changed into something different.
While continuing to mouth the words many of us wanted to hear, when it came down to it, Ms. Post invariably voted in mindless agreement with the majority – something that became hard for her supporters to swallow – especially when those votes helped take away more of our century old heritage of beach driving or involved development issues that adversely impact our quality of life.
Then, she stopped talking to the working press altogether – choosing instead to communicate with the world exclusively through a canned social media presence where she alone controls the message.
I found it reclusive and weird – a one-way barrier which protected her from political criticism by releasing only what she wanted her constituents to hear – using the distance to help cultivate the image of a professional political victim.
Initially, I chalked this chameleon-like ability to change with the prevailing winds up to inexperience – a desire to be all things to all voters – then, I recognized it for what it is:
Shameless self-promotion which plays on the average citizens short political memory.
Not that this peculiar personality trait hasn’t become a prerequisite for public office at all levels of government – it has. But with Ms. Post, it quickly became so flagrant that it was repellent for the many long-suffering residents and civic activists who had hoped for more.
Frankly, the political posturing and preening by Ms. Post and other members up for reelection became a serious distraction during Volusia County’s response to COVID-19 – complete with Facebook manifestos, the release of half-baked information outside official public information protocols and insisting on weekly meetings to allow for political exposure – even if it undercut the authority granted to County Manager George Recktenwald by the emergency declaration.
I didn’t think this pretentious horseshit could get much deeper. . .
Then, earlier this week, a loyal member of the Barker’s View tribe asked if I had seen a photograph Ms. Post published to her social media page on the National Day of Prayer – an annual event formally recognizing the importance of prayer by all faiths to the health, safety and cohesiveness of our nation.
The well-crafted photograph appears to depict The Very Reverend Heather Post standing dutifully in the pulpit – a heavenly light bathing her in a soft beatific glow from a stained-glass crucifix – giving the perfect impression to anyone observing that she was witnessing to devout congregants on our National Day of Prayer. . .
The only problem – it was a sham – in my view, the ecclesiastical equivalent of Stolen Valor.
The photograph appears to have been taken at the Riverview United Methodist Church during a September 6, 2019 town hall to discuss septic-to-sewer conversions in Ormond-by-the-Sea – not a National Day of Prayer event.
Don’t take my word for it – ask anyone who was there.
Or better yet, ask Ms. Post.
The concerned reader (who, by the way, is a confirmed supporter of the Councilwoman) was rightly offended by the fact Ms. Post used the photograph to insinuate she was engaged in a National Day of Prayer event – when others couldn’t – due to quarantine and social isolation.
Because the sentiments that accompanied the ethereal photograph on Facebook said, “On this #NationalPrayerDay Whomever it is you pray to, join me in saying a prayer that our protectors be strong, our sick be healed, our children be loved, and that all be blessed. #VolusiaCountyDistrict4”
The National Day of Prayer reference set the stage – and because this is an election year – the #VolusiaCountyDistrict4 made it political.
When I saw the misapplication for myself, I was stunned.
This was over-the-top. Even for a Volusia County election season.
Look, I’m the sheep that got lost – an unrepentant sinner just trying to do the right thing in a world gone mad – but even a lowlife like me can see this self-serving stunt is wrong on a number of levels.
I don’t agree with District 5 representative Dr. Fred Lowry’s politics – but he holds advanced degrees in Religious Studies and New Testament Theology – and has actively and tended his flock at a Deltona church since 1993.
If Dr. Lowry wants to exploit his pastoral standing for political gain – that is his right as an active, long-time member of the clergy. After all, he answered a higher calling and dedicated his life to the ministerial care of his congregation.
It is equally within bounds for former Volusia County Sheriff and current council member Ben Johnson to use his decades of honorable law enforcement service to his political advantage – because he has earned that privilege.
And, if the always arrogant Councilwoman Deb Denys wants to hold herself out as a shameless developer’s shill – have at it!
She’s earned that right as well. . .
Unfortunately, when it comes to Volusia County government – Ms. Post isn’t the only poseur holding high positions of responsibility – and their ham-fisted official response to the coronavirus outbreak has exposed the depth of this ineptitude and dysfunction with horrifying regularity.
I don’t know why this campaign tactic bothers me – but it does.
Perhaps, like many of you, I’m sick and tired of those who were elected to represent our interests engaging in these clumsy attempts to pull the wool over our eyes with cheap political posturing – especially during a “State of Emergency” that is crushing small business and leaving thousands of hungry families standing in breadlines – grasping at any shred of truth they can find.
Welcome to the “new reality,” folks. . .