Congratulations! After a long, tumultous, and historic campaign, the votes are in and a new Administration is about to take office. Everyone who participated–who learned what the candidates positions were on issues that they care about, who registered to vote, who registered others to vote, who did get out the vote, and who voted deserves praise.

This election involved and engaged those who have been absent or disengaged from the political process. This election elevated foreign policy issues in ways that have not happened in decades. In this election, candidates whose relatives may have fought for suffrage or for civil rights were nominated by their parties to lead our country.

And as the excitement of the election subsides and the analysis of the transition begins, I want to remind everyone that our work is not yet done. This marks the beginning of a new phase of engagement and civic participation.

The President-elect will be busy selecting candidates for his Administration, filling roles in the White House and in federal agencies, and determining his priorities in the next few months. However, the work of increasing and promoting democracy has just begun. The new Administration will face tremendous challenges with two wars and a financial crisis so it will be important to help support and ensure that they are also able to promote positive changes in U.S. policies that they articulated on the campaign trail.

President-elect Obama has committed to opening up government processes to the average citizen. He stated in a speech in New Hampshire that “Americans of every background and belief are hungry for a new kind of politics — a people’s politics that reconnects them with their government; one that offers not just a vote at the ballot box, but a voice in Washington and an assurance that the leaders we send there will hear it”.

AID is working to ensure that young people’s voices are part of this promise of engagement and participatory democracy. We are working with others to develop ways for young people’s voices, ideas, and energy to be coordinated and integrated into U.S. policymaking. We hope that you will join us in continuing to learn, engage, and promote policies with the new Administration.

Marceline White