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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

February 24, 2008

Contemplated on a sunny day…

It is a miraculously sunny day in the Hudson Valley; I woke earlier than normal for a Sunday morning to a brilliant day. Friday, a snowstorm dragged the Northeast nearly to a standstill; I worked from home, cocooning. Saturday was a gray day and, today, Sunday, truly is a sun day, a pristine winter day.

I drove the four miles over to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Philmont, a tiny congregation in a small town that is celebrating its services in the community room because the church has no heat with a lack of funds delaying repairs. I attend now and again; it’s a small group, all familiar with each other – I stand out as a newcomer. They are welcoming.

The theme of the service was reconciliation and during the sermon I allowed my brain to wander a bit, sifting through the week.

Will all Cubans be reconciled to each other now that Castro is slowly shuffling off the stage? Will Roger Clemens and his trainer ever speak again? Or Roger and Andy Pettitte? Will we ever be reconciled with baseball, a sport that has been tarnishing in our minds for years now?

And if Obama gets the nomination, will the Clintons be reconciled to that. Indications in the press this week suggest Hillary will; I have some doubts about Bill.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand leader of Iraq’s Shiite Mahdi Army has announced that the ceasefire his forces have been upholding for the last six months will continue for another six months. It is, hopefully, a welcome move that will help keep Iraq from fragmenting before our eyes. However, it is not a move that comes from any real spirit of reconciliation; rather a shrewd political move that enhances his role in whatever form the “new” Iraq takes.

While the ceasefire of the Mahdi Army is a good thing it has not, however, significantly damped down the violence in Iraq. Hopefully it won’t return to the dreadful levels of 2004 but suicide bombers continue to take their toll across Iraq. Iraqi blowing up Iraqis mostly; it is hard for me to comprehend and certainly suggests a final reconciliation in Iraq is far away.

One person who cannot reconcile himself to himself is Ralph Nader, who has announced another run at the Presidency despite having only received 0.3 percent of the votes in 2004. There are, I think, better platforms for Mr. Nader to speak his mind from than a Presidential bid. His quixotic actions erode the genuine place he has made for himself in American history by raising awareness of need for consumer safety – and that it could actually be done. Not that I necessarily disagree with his thought that there needs to be more choices on the political playing field.

In Oxnard, a teenager was shot in the back of the head because he was gay, apparently flamboyantly so, and therefore, to at least one of his classmates, he didn’t deserve to live. A classmate shot young Lawrence King, a 15 year old who was living in a shelter for abused children, in the back of the head. Today, as I think of reconciliation on this pristine day, I wonder if the young man who killed Lawrence will ever find reconciliation with his own soul. Will his community learn tolerance?

We are so complicated, we human beings, so irrationally filled with anger at so many things that it is not improbable if we wonder if there ever can be reconciliation of any kind, any where. Yet it happens. Fathers and sons reconcile, mothers and daughters, enemy nations make peace, become allies.

Perhaps, as the sun day ends, with a beautiful, glowing, hopeful sunset, we all must remember that reconciliation begins within. If we could reconcile ourselves to having others be different, we would have fewer suicide bombers, fewer Lawrence King incidents, fewer moments of chest thumping and more moments in which we embrace one another.