Elections Past and Present
Depending on where you live, you may be exhaling now that you’re not being swamped with off-year election ads, or you may not have noticed much about the races and ballot initiatives in other states that largely were decided Nov. 7. But no matter what, I feel reluctantly confident in saying none of us will escape from the all-out advertising blitz and media saturation ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
The SIU will not deviate from our decades-long stance when it comes to deciding which candidates to back, at every level of government. Our first questions are always, where do you stand on the U.S. Merchant Marine? Where do you stand on the American maritime industry? Where do you stand on workers’ rights? That’s not a long list, but those always have been, and always will be our top priorities.
One lesson from last month’s elections that shouldn’t be overlooked is the genuine power of voting, period. Turnout makes all the difference, as we’ve seen time aft er time, year after year. Keep that in mind ahead of Election Day 2024. Make sure you are registered to vote, and support the candidates who will support your job. Don’t sit on the docks.
Last but not least, I’m trying to get a jumpstart on asking everyone who reads this column to practice civility throughout the election process. This isn’t exactly a revelation, but it doesn’t do our country any favors when we lose the capability or the willpower to engage in respectful dialogue about candidates and issues. There’s nothing wrong with spirited debate; there’s plenty wrong with closed-mindedness and outright malice.
Here’s to taking the high road and giving our fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt.
What a tremendous honor it was for apprentices from the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education to be featured at this year’s official Veterans Day National Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. As reported elsewhere in this edition, the apprentices served as an honor guard and helped place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to honor the U.S. Merchant Marine of World War II. Making an already emotional moment even more inspirational, several mariners from that era were in attendance.
I absolutely understand the distinctions between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but let us never forget that more than 1,200 SIU members made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II.
My hat is off to all who’ve served, and I remain grateful to work as p art of our great nation’s fourth arm of defense.
On behalf of our entire executive board, I extend heartfelt holiday greetings to all SIU members, pensioners and their families. I particularly appreciate and respect the dedication of our sisters and brothers who are spending the holidays at sea. Your professionalism and commitment are never taken for granted.
I wish everyone an enjoyable present, a fondly remembered past, and a prosperous new year ahead.