Let's hear it for the purple fingers of Iraq
Others are covering the news in great depth (I recommend, in particular, the entire front page of Mudville Gazette for a good roundup and links; as well as the horse's mouth, the one and only Iraq the Model).
But I have to add a word to express my own pleasure at watching the proceedings. I saw a bit on TV, and once again, the happy faces were a great joy. My hope is that stability and a democracy that preserves human rights will come as soon as possible to that long-suffering country.
Some time after the first post-invasion Iraqi election, I wrote a piece in which I reflected as follows:
When the authors of the Declaration of Independence wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." it was more an article of faith than anything else, because the right of liberty (and the desire for it) was not all that self-evident to most of the world. But the framers turned out to be prescient, because here is evidence that is so strong that I think it amounts to proof: human beings want and value liberty and self-determination. Even though these things are abstractions compared to basic needs such as food and water, they seem to represent another basic need, one of the human spirit.
It seems just as true today.