Ahhh, rhetoric, how splendid 'tis is.
The great Greek philosopher Aristotle once opined that rhetoric is, "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion," but that was in a time when words held meaning and democracy was not made a mockery of by ideological blowhards.
Today the persuasive device can be described as little more than members of a particular party, or a media organization for good measure, shilling for their preferred point of view. Granted, it is often wrapped with a red bow of literary or oral flourish, but it remains shilling, none the less.
Such is the case in Schoharie County presently, with the unveiling of the 2015 Tentative Budget by County Treasurer Bill Cherry.
I will not parse words: this budget is brutal. The county is facing a significant tax increase, a stagnant stream of sales tax revenue, and a fundamental change in county operations if the Planning and Economic Development Department is split into two.
Covering the proposed budget's announcement at a press conference last week for the Mountain Eagle, I read through page after page of preliminary expenditure marks and left with a vile taste in my mouth. Not for the budget itself, but in anticipation for the coming political maelstrom.
Some might question why I, as a journalist, would dread a coming battle of rhetoric when it would result in a steady stream of news for me to cover? My reply: because I am a citizen of this county, first and foremost, and more often than not, what doesn't kill us makes us bitter in this county.
Bitter against our neighbors, bitter against our politicians, and bitter against our taxes. And sadly, it appears after this past week of coverage and debate over the proposed fiscal road map, this budget season is going to be more bashful than usual. Oh joy to the world.
It's bad enough our county is in the fiscal situation that is, but must it be compounded by the blind ideology of our political elite as well?
There are things I dislike about the proposed budget, but is not my place to state them due to my journalistic responsibilities, but if truth be told: no one wins in this budget, however, if we travel down this road of ill content and ill will without even an morsel of understanding, we will all lose as well.
Therefore, let us gird our loins, for 'Tis the Season for Rhetoric, and like the impending doom of winter, there is nothing we can do to delay its coming.