Senate Passes Permanent Daylight Saving Time Bill That Should Make Some Of You Happy, We Guess

Senate Passes Permanent Daylight Saving Time Bill That Should Make Some Of You Happy, We Guess

Everyone rejoiced Tuesday when it seemed as if the US Senate had actually accomplished something. The Senate passed legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent starting in 2023. No more changing all your clocks, gradually over the course of the next few weeks. We’re sticking with Daylight Saving Time forever!

The Sunshine Protection Act passed unanimously through voice vote. Once the House of Representatives approves the measure, it’ll head to President Joe Biden for signing. There’s no official word on whether Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi support the legislation, but Democrats have enough problems right now so they probably don’t want to appear anti-sunlight. This is a slam dunk to pass.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors is Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, which enacted year-round Daylight Saving Time in 2018. Fifteen other states have done the same, but a change was required to the federal statute before we could abandon the current absurd practice of collective jet lag twice a year.

I personally loathe Daylight Saving Time. You’re not “saving" daylight, just as this bill isn’t “protecting” sunshine. You’re stealing daylight from the morning so you can have extra sunshine in the evening. It’s as if none of the DST proponents have read a demonic contract.

Rubio claims that “many studies have shown that making DST permanent could benefit the economy and the country.” He doesn’t specify which studies, but I agree with him that we should end the "antiquated practice of clock changing,” which fucks up your body but good. The negative effects of transitioning to Daylight Saving Time each year are well-documented. However, I don’t think permanent Daylight Saving Time is the answer.

Beth Malow, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, broke down the issue with DST for Scientific American last year:

What’s more of an issue is: you almost have a chronic circadian misalignment—or things are just off-kilter for eight months of the year. That’s how I would look at it. When you’re in standard time, the sun at noon is, in most places, right above your head—you’re really aligned. When you’re in your daylight saving time for eight months of the year, you’re an hour off, and you're getting not enough light in the morning and too much light at night. And that gets worse as the summer approaches—as the days get longer, and you’re getting light into the evening, when your body should be getting less light so that it can get ready for bed. In the morning, as we start getting into the fall, it gets darker when you’re in daylight saving time.

Supporters of permanent DST argue that the change would let children play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression. However, there’s nothing more depressing than getting up in the morning when it’s pitch black outside. You’re fumbling around in the dark, switching on the lights while trying to make coffee. It’s hell. Hell! I live in Portland, Oregon, so for most of the winter, my kid would go to school when it’s still dark. The last bell is at 8:45 a.m. and sunrise is close to 9 a.m. until February.

Sure, the sun will set an hour later, not that you’d notice in Portland during the winter. I’d love for my kid to play with his friends outside and not mess up my nice house, but it’s rainy, cold, and miserable. My wife won’t let me send them to the backyard with a raincoat and my blessings. That’s probably not an issue in Florida where the average low in January is 57 degrees. That’s bikini weather in Portland. Florida is also much farther south than Portland, so in late December, the sun rises at 6:30 and sets at 5:30. I don’t know what they’re complaining about. They already have more sunshine in the state.

Both Rubio and Senator Rick Scott from Florida have suggested altering the start time for school once Daylight Saving Time is permanent. This way kids won’t have to walk to school in the dark each morning with raccoons and perverts. That would obviously require an adjustment to most start times at work for parents, who’d have to work later to make up for it so they wouldn’t enjoy that “extra" hour of sunlight. If school and work starts later, we’d all end up sleeping later, so we’re really just messing up our internal clocks so that we can pretend the days are “longer.” No wonder the entire Senate approved.

Can we please just stop fucking with time?


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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