Well, it’s that time of the year again. After a year of pandemics and elections, it is time for the US Congress to address one of the stupidest laws they have ever enacted! And this is noted with full awareness of the ACA (aka Obamacare – “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” – Nancy Pelosi, March 9. 2010). This presupposes the For The People Act that centralizes elections, disenfranchises states and degrades the integrity of the elections by “the people” it supposedly is FOR. It assumes you know about the $1,900,000,000.00 ($1.9 trillion) Covid Relief Package that has less than $1,900,000.00 ($1.9 billion) for covid relief, less than 1/10th of the bill.
Even with these boondoggles, the stupidest law the U.S. Congress has ever passed was the Daylight Saving Time Act of 1918! Because of confusion over when states would adopt DST, it was codified into uniform compliance by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (unless states wanted to opt out, which Arizona, Hawaii and half of Indiana did). Now Daylight Saving Time begins with “Spring Forward” at 2am on the second Sunday of March every year. When 2am hits, we are supposed to move our clocks forward to 3am, skipping that hour. Standard Time resumes with “Fall Back” at 2am on the first Sunday of November. When 2am hits, we try to reverse the damage by moving the clocks backward to 1am, repeating the 1am hour over again. Then we do it all again in the spring.
Now, let’s up the absurdity! This year, again, a group of congresspeople and senators have proposed the Sunshine Protection Act which would make Daylight Saving Time PERMANENT, so that we do not have to change our clocks every other season. After all, if the government does not protect the Sunshine, who will!? A reasonable person might ask, WHYYYYY!? If you are going to get up an hour earlier every day of the year, why not just leave the clocks alone and go with the Greenwich Meridian Time standard that the US adopted in November of 1883 and was standardized to the world in 1884?
Two stories to illustrate the asininity of this idea:
One is the apocryphal tale of why DST was ever adopted.
It seems some congressmen were concerned about getting reelected and felt they needed something to show their constituents that they were not just sitting around the Capitol lounge and gym smoking stogies, drinking martinis and getting tax-payer funded massages, even though that is exactly what they were doing.
One suggested, “Why don’t we vote to give everyone an extra hour every day? You know, to work longer and pay higher taxes, but we could say it was so they could spend more time with their families.”
Everyone jumped on the bandwagon immediately exclaiming “Capital idea!” until a freshman congressman, who was unschooled in the finer arts of making laws, noted, “But that would wear out in about two weeks when people would be going to bed at sunup and rising at sundown.”
After some substantial grumbling about mouthy young upstarts needing to learn their place, one of the elder statesmen said, “Well we can just subtract the extra hour from the morning and that way everyone will get the extra hour without confusing the clock-makers who would have to make 25 hour clocks. Besides I don’t have that many voting clock-makers in my district.”
The measure passed with full bi-partisan support and was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson, who was busy planning to catch the Spanish Flu when he attended the League of Nations meeting the next year, and could not get reelected for a third term if he had slowed down the earth’s rotation to actually give everyone an extra hour.
The second story is a true one about a secretary I once knew in an office in which I worked. Spring was on the horizon and we were discussing the coming change of the clocks. I noted that, “If it is really so important to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening, why can’t we just start and quit work an hour earlier?”
The secretary looked aghast! “Oh, C.A., I have to get up at 6am to get here by 8 as it is. I could never get up at 5am.”
The befuddlement in my brain was difficult to speak through, but I finally managed to say, “But you ARE getting up at 5am; you’re just calling it 6am for the summer!”
I would like to suggest an alternative proposal that we set our clocks BACK five hours! That way we could all sleep in until noon and miss the rush hour traffic going to work, right? This proposal makes the same sense as “permanentizing” DST year-round.
And so the idiocy we call Daylight Saving Time (and that many people mispronounce as Daylight SavingS Time) may not be going away any time soon. In fact, if our brilliant congresspeople have anything to say about it, DST might not go away ever! Just think of how much we will protect the sunshine and the time we will save THAT WAY! Now I wonder what they will do while smoking stogies, sipping martinis and getting massages.