Saturday, February 11, 2006

Empty Bluster

Topic: David Blust, Republican Watauga County Commissioner (elected to 4-year term in 2002), and candidate for State Senate Dist. 45, a seat currently help by fellow Republican John Garwood. Blust will face Garwood in the May primary.

David Blust evokes a certain amount of pity. He's faced significant personal tragedy very recently, in the early death of a son from drug abuse. He's a likeable guy -- friendly, chatty, up-beat.

He's also a politician, which according to my Brave New World Dictionary means he's a cynical opportunist. He's decided to gin up the prejudices of rural people in Watauga County and lead a crusade against a planned new high school. He throws around big dollar figures with a wild abandon, stirring up resentments that county school officials are squandering tax dollars like sailors on shore-leave following a long nine months at sea.

Considering Mr. Blust's own history with bankruptcy -- an inability to manage his own tangled businesses -- and considering Mr. Blust's history of promoting private "Christian academies" at the expense of public education, his attack on the public school system is not only hypocritical. It's tawdry, calculating, and fundamentally unChristian.

He does not wear lightly the cloak of his piety. He likes to preach. You won't find him hiding his manifest self-righteousness under a bushel. That moral superiority, in fact, has fueled his race against John Garwood. Blust blames Garwood for the state lottery, as indeed Garwood IS to blame for the state lottery ... not showing up to vote on it when his vote could have killed it. But self-righteousness ALONE, without good deeds, is a tinkling cymbal.

When Blust was elected to the Watauga County Commission, riding in on a great wave of rural prejudice against two incumbent women on the commission, he promised to be an "idea man" during his tenure in office. We're still waiting for the first idea. Instead of ideas, we've gotten a man who is almost always unprepared. He has rarely done his homework before commission meetings, and it shows. He tries to coast on the opinions of others. He covers his lack of preparation with locker-room banter. He comes across as essentially harmless and -- oh yes! -- very pious.

He is not harmless. His current crusade among rural and church people against the building of a badly needed new high school is playing politics with the future of our children. He hopes to stir up the same prejudices that he manipulated against zoning four years ago.

My Bible says, from such forms of godliness, turn away.

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