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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 In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie.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

Facing the Fractured World?

In some ways, we are a nation that has placed itself "on hold." I have had several conversations this week with people who have told me that they're now going to wait until after the election to make decisions.

I had breakfast with someone who is putting together an event - but that event is going to hinge on this election because it will revolve around the intersection of politics and technology and media - which will definitely be affected by who becomes President.

Oh, it's true that the ordinary business of the world ticks on. News keeps being reported - the American psyche is focused on who is going to face off in the World Series. On a flight this week, we were updated every inning on what was happening with the Yankees and the Red Sox, which was annoying to me as I was trying to get some sleep - far more important to me than the score. However, I was in a distinct minority on that flight.

My inbox is flooded with appeals to vote - I am almost equally flooded by Democrats and Republicans. Both assume I am solidly in their camp and would I please cough up a few more bucks for the cause!

As far as anyone can tell, this election is too close to call - and that means it is being contested to the very last moment. With Democratic friends, I find them "tossing the runes" to see what is coming, looking for obscure statistical trends that support a Kerry victory.

On my flight this week, I was seated next to someone who, in the time before the door closed, spoke to friends, encouraging them to vote his way. I realized that his way and my way were quite divergent, so I thought better of engaging him in any conversation. I had just read that someone on a plane asked to be reseated because the man next to him was reading a book authored by Michael Moore.

We are incredibly polarized this election. The news magazines have been filled with stories of how desperately divisive we are this year. Civility is apparently gone. We can't, this election, seem to agree to disagree. This, I thought, was one of the hallmarks of 20th Century American politics.


It?s not the 20th Century! It's the 21st Century -- and we may be moving back to those ugly days in the 19th Century when bullying people seemed to be the order of the political day.

Looking back, all of this began to become frayed toward the end of the 20th Century with Ronald Reagan but has now gone decibels higher.

Good, bad, indifferent. I enjoy the process we are engaged in.

However, I have had two conversations this week with individuals that I like, respect and interact with on a regular basis who will not vote in this election because they loathe the choices. Okay?

Okay. I don't get it.

The election of 2000, more than anything in my life, taught us the importance of the individual vote. However, that message is lost on some people. To them, their vote is inconsequential. Or they don't like the choices so they abstain from the process which is so against everything I believe.

But that is what is happening within our democracy now - there's a sense our votes do not count when they count enormously. Each of us is important in the process but some do not know, or accept, that fact.

I want to hit those people over the head with a rubber baseball bat. So you don't like the choices. Not voting only allows other people to control your destiny.

That is not what I believe in, being an American, born mid-century of the last century when we all believed there was something special about being American and central to that "specialness" was that we had the vote!