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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

Decisions Made…

I spent last weekend up in the country, which was a good chance for me to slow down for a moment and reflect.

I went up to the country because I love it there, a peaceful haven from all the siren sounds of New York City but I also went up because I am registered to vote up there and Tuesday was election day.

Claverack is my official home. It is where my furniture is, my car, my books, all the “things” which are really part of my life – the things I treasure when I touch them. It is my home, in the deepest sense of any place I have ever lived.

After we moved in, and knowing that I would one day be living there full time, I decided that I would make it my official home, full time, now.

So I spent a great weekend up there, reading all the papers – my regulars, the New York Times, the Albany Times-Union and the Hudson Valley Newspaper, being responsible and getting into all the issues, national and local.

The weekend was crisp and clear; it’s getting to be winter here and heavy coats and sweaters are a necessity. A good wind blew leaves off the trees and all across the deck and drive. The creek was often mirror like, reflecting the remaining foliage in its slow and peaceful journey. A wild turkey made its way across our yard and at 5:30 each day the deer came across the far side of the yard and crossed the water onto the farm across the way.

There were no house guests, no dinner guests, no friends dropping by – just ourselves. Tripp worked in the yard and I weighed the issues of the world. I was pretty sure that this election was going to be important and I thought through my voting choices more carefully than I have at any other time in my life.

Tuesday morning came, brisk, with a steady, firm wind blowing out of the south as I woke up before the first light of dawn, had my coffee and showered. Bundled in my old but favorite leather jacket, I drove over to the fire station at the intersection of 9H and 23 and walked in to vote.

As I walked in, I smiled because there was a huge, hand painted sign across the front of the fire station inviting everyone to an Election Night dinner there at the station, to watch the returns. You don’t usually find that at the polling places in New York and Los Angeles.

The fluorescent lit room, a bit bright for my early morning eyes, was staffed by friendly folks from Claverack, men and women with lined faces that had, I suspect, lived there long before the “city folk” began coming up to Columbia County in such numbers. These were the old time farmers and shop keepers. I gave my name to a very nice lady who dithered her way through her records, unable to find me. At the other end of the table, another lady thumbed her set of records and said something like: “Pooh, Alice! He’s right here. Tombers on Patroon.”

I, very likely, was one of the first ten or twenty people to vote. As I entered into the booth and surveyed and made my choices, I felt connected to the democratic process in a way I am not sure I ever have felt before.

It is, I suspect, because I think of that house on the Claverack Creek as my home more than I have ever thought of any other place as home. But it is also because I am aware of just how important the process is.

All weekend, reading my papers, I was staggered by the weight and the importance of the decisions that were going to be made all across the country on Tuesday.

Now that the results are in, whether we like it or not, the country has spoken and there is, again whether we like it or not, or agree with it or not, a kind of unified tone to the voice of this country as it faces itself and as it faces the rest of the world.

As I write this the United Nations Security Council is about to vote on another Iraq proposal, the consequences of which could include military action. President Bush has been on the phone today with both Putin and Chirac, gathering, he hopes, their support.

As I write this, the markets are down and the Fed has just lowered interest rates again because the economy is in deep water. The Senate and the House and the White House are in Republican hands, a step further to the right than we had been just a week ago.

On Tuesday, I voted for both Republicans and Democrats, my votes based on my interpretations of each candidate’s positions on the issues that they will be tasked to face, locally and nationally.

The cold of winter is upon as are the cold realities of what we will be dealing with in the months to come and, as a country, we have voted to face those realities with a Republican voice, a conservative tone and a militaristic stance.