I think the Palestinians' polls have been open for a couple hours now. Abu Mazen is looking to ride the landslide to victory, but he's got too many cooks in the kitchen with him. If he tries to make nice with Sharon, Hamas and the other nutjobs will murder him. If he tries to do an impression of the Arafish, the IDF will send one across his bow. No assassination necessary, but a very communicative moment will suffice.
It's a meaningless election, as many of the Car Swarm People would tell you themselves, but I still hope for a big turnout. And I hope the Israelis make a big deal out of it and get Sharon to shake Mazen's hand and smile for the cameras. These people need to see that their decisions have consequences ---and not always just bad ones.
The idea is to get from the appearance of democratic rule to its actual practice. There are hopeful signs here and there. Assad may be getting the message with respect to his border with Iraq. Mubarak is wishing aloud for full participation in the vote in Iraq. And the Deadline is holding firm. I wish Sistani would come out and finally play a hand for once, but that might take the mystique off his brow. Who knows? Our men and women are doing the Lord's work each and every day. But come hell or high water, the Middle East will be changed. I say for the better ---and why not?