If my picture appeared in the dictionary next to a word, that word would likely be “anti-government.” Or perhaps “pro-gridlock.” I don’t like government much, and I’m happier when it’s not getting anything done. Especially anything described as “bi-partisan,” which usually means something incorporating the worst instincts of Republicans and Democrats alike.
But on March 15, the U.S. Senate, in a stunning display of un-gridlocked bi-partisanship, voted unanimously to do something I wholly approve of.
The august deliberative body, in an unusual collective seizure of wisdom, voted to stop demanding that everyone move their clocks forward one hour each spring, and back one hour each fall, by making “Daylight Saving Time” permanent as of November 2023.
This may seem like a minor thing — at least if you’re not one of, or a loved one of, the 30 excess auto accident fatalities University of Miami economics professor Austin C. Smith ascribes to our annual “spring forward” — but it’s also a good thing.
We could quibble over making Daylight Saving Time permanent or abandoning it altogether, I guess.
My wife is on the “abandon” side because she likes her daylight earlier in the morning (as do many parents with kids who have to catch a bus to school in the dark).
I’m on the “make it permanent” side because I get up at 0-dark-thirty anyway, and prefer to have some light left if I feel like tinkering in the garden or mowing the lawn (don’t get me started on the lawn) before bed.
But the big issue, to the extent that there’s an issue at all, is the discombobulation that arbitrarily changing our clocks twice a year causes.
“Springing forward” robs those of us who live on schedules of an hour of sleep, and we’re just not the same for a couple of weeks while our bodies adjust (hence the grog-induced car wrecks and other negative side effects).
“Falling back” theoretically means an extra hour of sleep one Sunday morning, but try telling that to young kids and pets. They’re up wanting breakfast or barking to go out and do their business at the same “natural” time for days or weeks afterward.
The whole thing made little sense even when electric lighting was a luxury and almost everyone worked “daytime” hours. It makes no sense at all now.
Kudos, for once, to the Senate. To the House and the president, go and do thou likewise.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.