It’s almost our favorite day of the year: the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, when we can fast-forward our clocks, stop the winter darkness that descends by mid-afternoon, and crawl out of our stuffy homes after dinner into the evening light. Amid Biden’s “dark winter” of COVID hell, the act of “springing forward” out of Standard Time is especially welcomed this year.
That’s why a glorious piece of legislation popping up in the Senate is a bright spot this week — not only because it’s bipartisan, but also because it would literally grant daylight to weary Americans. The Sunshine Protection Act would make Daylight Savings Time permanent across the country, putting to bed the absurd practice we continue year after year of switching our clocks around — or not, and accidentally sleeping through church.
Save for a few lucky states that have put the kibosh on the practice through their own legislation, Daylight Savings Time lasts eight months out of the year. In March, we “spring forward” to optimize our hours of daylight, and in November, we “fall back” — usually into despair, as the four coldest, gloomiest months come with an added level of actual and metaphorical darkness.
“In a year that feels like it’s been in complete darkness, Senator Rubio and I have provided a solution to provide more sunlight by making Daylight Saving Time permanent,” Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said. “I don’t know a parent of a young child that would oppose getting rid of springing forward or falling back. Congress created Daylight Saving decades ago as a wartime effort, now it is well past time to lock the clock and end this experiment.”
If you don’t think this proposal is a big deal, you’ve probably never had to set up a mathematical equation to figure out whether it’s an appropriate time to call a pal who lives in another time zone in a state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings. Or maybe you’ve never been a working-out woman who just wants to go for a nice after-work run without the dangers of the dark. Perhaps you’re fortunate enough not to have a pesky astigmatism. Or maybe you just hate the sun and joy. Maybe you’re a vampire. Or a redhead.
Driving at night with astigmatism pic.twitter.com/T5zXeMmpt6
— Coop (@PirateCoop) February 26, 2021
The rest of us would like to please spring forward and never look back. Sure, it’s nice to get that “extra hour of sleep” every fall, but is it extra if it gets snatched away a few months later — or if you spend it watching Netflix anyway because, after all, it’s not like you’re losing any sleep?
Research has shown permanent Daylight Savings Time comes with quite a few potential benefits, such as fewer car accidents and robberies, and less obesity. It also helps people snap out of seasonal depression. While people tend to spend a little less on electricity, permanently springing forward stimulates people to spend a little more on other things. It’s time to turn off the lights and get out those stimulus checks.
“Extra sunshine in the evenings not only puts a spring in our step and offers the perfect reason to get outside, but it also positively impacts consumer spending and shifts energy consumption,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “Studies have found year-round Daylight Saving Time would improve public health, public safety, and mental health — especially important during this cold and dark COVID winter. I am proud to have co-authored the provision of the 2005 law that extended Daylight Saving Time by several weeks, and I am now proud to sponsor the Sunshine Protection Act to add an extra hour of sunshine for the full 365 days a year.”
In a year that’s snatched so much from Americans, enacting permanent Daylight Savings Time is a little thing that could add lots of joy. Please, lawmakers, the least you could do is add a little light to our lives.