Some people put all their energy into having a Tea Party. Some people get so mad they want to Occupy something. Me? I want Daylight Saving Time (DST) to go away and never return.
Why do I get so worked up over something that seems so trivial?
Well, it’s partly a matter of my political disposition. In my longer-than-I’d-like-to-admit life, I’ve actually supported some conservative candidates and some liberal candidates. I like to say that I’m “the most liberal conservative” and “the most conservative liberal” that I know. (Someone may protest that there is already a shorthand word for that–moderate–but that’s not quite the same thing. Some of my best friends are moderates, but… no… I just can’t go there.) My overriding political belief, however, is my love of my country, not in a “love-it-or-leave-it” kind of way, but in being proud to be an American and wanting to make US the best that it can be.
Daylight Saving Time makes my country worse. In the spring and fall, it makes people who work first shift jobs and children in school get up much earlier than sunrise. It makes it harder for parents to get young children to bed when “it’s still light outside, Daddy”. It discourages people from participating in wholesome nighttime activities, like going to the movies or bowling. In short, it confuses the heck out of everyone natural biological rhythms.
You may argue that it gives us lots of extra sunlight during the summer. Well, guess what? We get lots of extra sunlight during the summer anyway. You may say that it saves energy. Not true–energy usage studies tend to show that energy consumption actually increases a little because of DST. You may say we’ve been using Daylight Saving Time for so long that it would be confusing to drop it. I contend that it is more confusing to keep it.
In any given year, the patterns of who is using DST are so convoluted, Sherlock Holmes couldn’t figure them out. And that’s just in the U.S. (I pity you if you live in Arizona or Indiana.) Now, compound that by trying to work with the rest of the world. This is not saying that “we need to be like everybody else”. No, unfortunately, the rest of the planet follows even more convoluted rules about DST than we do. Some countries in Asia, not at all. Others, half hour increments. One state in Australia is actually considering one time for the cities and another time for the countryside.
The madness has to stop. The U.S. can lead the way back to time sanity. Let summer be summer and winter be winter, and the twain shall meet naturally at the equinoxes, like God intended.
(If you are interested in the sordid history of Daylight Saving Time, the surprisingly well-documented Wikipedia article on DST is a good place to start.)